Lakewood, NJ – With the final taste of Chanukah fading in our memories, most of us would be only too happy to do nothing more than settle back into daily routine. For the mosdos hachinuch of Lakewood, however, efforts are just beginning as registration for the upcoming school year is all but set to begin.
As was reported a while ago, in compliance with a new initiative by the leading askonim in the field, many of the prominent chadorim and girl’s schools have delayed opening their registration until this week. According to this new protocol, registration for these mosdos has begun this week and will b’ezras Hashem be finalized by Rosh Chodesh Adar.
In the past, parents were forced into long months of nail biting suspense and anxiety, dashed hopes and too often, ultimate rejection. With the time frame for registration and acceptance significantly narrowed down, parents will be afforded piece of mind while greatly minimizing any anguish or angst. At the same time, this gives the mosdos and askonim a real and accurate picture of the need for placement options for those who find themselves still waiting, allowing for immediate and decisive action.
Noted askan, philanthropist, and champion of all tzorchei tzibbur, Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz of Los Angeles, who has been at the forefront of this proposal, once again so eloquently verbalized what has long been in the hearts and minds of all involved. At this week’s Chanukas Habayis of Lakewood Cheder’s new magnificent building, dedicated in memory of his grandparents, Shlomo Yehuda seized the moment to sound the alarm of all those parents and children who have until now borne the brunt of “the system”. Shlomo Yehuda quoted the Gemorah in Bava Basra that sings the praises of Yehoshua Ben Gamla and details that if not for him, Nishtakach Torah M’Yisroel”, All of Torah would have been forgotten from this world. The Gemorah tells us that at that time, “the system” was that those who were fortunate to have fathers that were capable of teaching them Torah, were privileged to learn. The Yesomim on the other hand, who had no father, remained disadvantaged, and were denied the opportunity to learn Torah. Yehoshua Ben Gamla took the initiative and instituted an entire network of Melamdei Tinokos in every county and city so all children, beginning at age six, would have the opportunity to be taught Torah. This ultimately proved successful. Shlomo Yehuda posed a fundamental question. Why did the Gemorah assume that ALL of Torah would be forgotten on the basis of a minority of Yesomim not having a place to learn? The vast majority of children had fathers who were teaching them how to learn, ultimately guaranteeing the continuity of Torah in Klal Yisroel? How would a few unfortunate Yesomim without a teacher, jeopardize the whole concept of Torah, to the extreme of Nishtakach Torah M’Yisroel? His poignant answer should truly serve as a wakeup call for us all. “One can say a Litvishe terutz, Chasidishe terutz, Balabatishe terutz or a Brisker terutz, but one thing is for certain, the Gemorah is very clear, that even ONE child left out of school chas veshalom, will ultimately lead to “Nishtakach Torah M’Yisroel!!
With that, Shlomo Yehuda continued to implore upon the assembled, including his likes of many out of town guests, to be a part of the revolution; to realize that just as Yehoshua Ben Gamla accomplished in the past, anyone of means must see to it that there are schools and yeshivos in all cities and towns regardless of where he actually lives. It is the newfound pride and joy of Lakewood that with the new registration protocol and other proposals in the making, our roshei mosdos and askanim will be duly committed to do anything and everything in their power to assure Klal Yisrael that they will never risk the untenable possibility of “Nishtakach Torah m’Yisroel”.
It is our collective tefilla that cheifeftz Hashem biyodom yatzliach, and by extension we will be zoche to the realization of “vchol bonayich limudei Hashem.”