So Many Candidates, So Few Shtellers


yeshivaBy K. G.

I just heard about a well established yeshiva looking for a high school rebbi. The current rebbi is set to leave next year after many years of teaching, and there is a lot of pressure to find a suitable replacement in time to calm the parents and the talmidim who are choosing mesivtos for the coming year. You can imagine that with 6,000 yungeleit or more in the NY/NJ area looking for shtellers, this would be the opportunity of the century, and the yeshiva would have a long line of suitable candidates to choose from.

But sadly, that is not the case. The yeshiva has already been struggling for over a month with no obvious choice in sight. Even though there are thousands of people who want the position, the yeshiva doesn’t want them. The opposite is true as well. There are qualified candidates whom the yeshiva wants to take the job, but they don’t want the yeshiva. This leads to the obvious question: with so many talmidei chachamim waiting for positions, why is it so difficult to find someone? Surely from the thousands of kollel yungeleit it should be no big deal to come up with the right person.

The answer is that the person being sought needs to have qualifications that none of those vying for the job actually have. If all the yeshiva needed was someone capable of saying a high school level shiur, that would be no big deal to find. But the yeshiva is looking for something else – a successful rebbi. They are looking for someone to fill in the void left by the previous rebbi who was considered a success. To find a maggid shiur, that is easy. To find a successful maggid shiur, that is impossible. So impossible, that the yeshiva would be willing to pay an outrageous salary to the “right” person. (And this is while others are willing to work for free just to get a shteller.)

Keep this in mind when looking for a shteller. Even the few positions a year that do open up are not looking for someone who knows how to say a shiur. Those people are in great supply. The challenge is to become someone who will be a “guaranteed” success. That is a much more difficult accomplishment to achieve. And it is those people who are getting wooed with all the good offers that are out there.

{Kollel Guy/ Newscenter}


  1. Not sure what you are trying to say – if this is the old “Can’t get a job without experience and can’t get experience without a job” then this is the problem all over the world. Why shouldn’t a Yeshiva look for as great a rebbi as they can find. If you are trying to tell everyone trying to get into the chinuch field that they should be willing to start small and work on their experience even if it requires them to have to take an elementary school position or a shteler out of town, then just say so. Either way you aren’t stating anything new that hasn’t existed 20 years ago.

  2. many people think because they are a so called lamdan they will be machanech a bachur properly little do they realize thst they do not even no the first thing about what to tell a bachur and what not to lets not even mention middos

  3. The Yeshiva needs a person (Menahel /Rosh Yeshiva) knowledgeble in assesing a persons capabilities. They could then hire a yungerman who can give a good shiur even though he may have not had experience. So in esence it is a lack on the part of the hanhala of the yeshiva. By the way, I know of a yungerman talmid chacham that would fit the bill.

  4. There is no such thing as a “guaranteed success.” Only the Ribono Shel Olam can determine that. But that aside, what does “success” mean in this context?

  5. a new crisis!!
    I was thinking for a while that no one could come up with one…thank goodness. Now we can have parlor meetings and auctions and robocalls and dinners and endless blogs posts….

  6. While there may still be some yeshivas that are looking to hire a high school rebbi entirely based on being a “successful maggid shiur”, unfortunately the majority of Yeshivos are looking at the large pool of decent candidates and are hiring the ones whose shver and/or parent’s will pay for their shtellar, leaving their talmidid to learn “darka shel torah” from the wealthiest among us. If there truly is a Yeshiva that is willing (or at least is attempting…) to pay an “outrageous salary” so that their talmidid will get the best chinuch possible they should be lauded, because sadly that is very uncommon.

  7. Very not true. There are many people who would be successful, but won’t get a job since they don’t have “pull” or an inside foot. Very often, the job doesn’t go to the best candidate to connect with the students, but to the best-connected candidate.

    It’s not what you know, but whom you know – sadly.

  8. Although not said clearly, I believe he means that in addition to saying a shiur, the person needs to have a good rapport with the talmidim

  9. It’s an open market. Every individual is entitled to be choosy and the Mosdos are entitled to be choosy. This is life. It’s time to realize that not everyone will find a job in Chinuch and many will have to find another malocho Kalah unekia and still stay bnei Torah.
    By the way, there is no word like ‘shteller’. It is ‘shtelle’.

  10. This makes no sense. There is no such thing as a guarantee. Rabeiim that were successful in other Yeshivos may not be successful in the environment under question. Each situation and every bochur is unique. There may well be some proven successful Rabbeim that would be disasters in a particular situation and there are certainly untested prospects that can thrive.
    There are numerous indicators that can test a prospects likelihood of success in a given situation but an overriding factor should be to make sure to hire Rabbeim that are interested in teaching and chinuch. Yeshiva hanhallah must not only judge a candidate’s suitability on the basis of his reputation as a star lamdan but must investigate the candidate’s motives for wanting to teach.

  11. I know a few amazing, talented, succesful, creative energetic Rabbaim who have not been paid in months or are months behind in salary and who would welcome an opportunity to use their creative talents, love filled hearts and dedicated selves to a new position.. how can we find out the location of the position????

  12. What is true is that if you have no connection you have no chance
    But after the connected are interviewed they pick the most suitable

  13. What’s the purpose of this article? Do you want applications from the “perfect candidate”? If so, to whom does one apply? What is the name of this yeshiva? How many years of experience do you require? What is the salary you are offering? Perhaps if you let us know this information, you will find the person you are looking for.

  14. “outrageous salary”? I question the accuracy of this statement. There are plenty of Rebbeim in other yeshivos who are being paid so little that they would switch for an “outrageous salary”.

  15. For somewhat of a guarantee look for the summer camp rebbeim and division heads, pirchei leaders, and the youngerman who has worked and succeeded with youth.

  16. I know people who were recruited for these positions because they knew (a) how to say a great shiur and (b) how to engage, inspire and grow talmidim. These were skills that as Rav Pam suggested, were grown out of years as camp counselors.

    While in kollel, these guys gave chazara chaburos, ran tish’en for the younger guys and grew their own followings among the younger guys in the yeshiva. And when mesivtas were looking for the new young talent, these guys were at the top of the list. If you want a shteller, you have to prepare for it – just like if you lehavdil want a good job in secular world, you want to start building real world experience in that field.

  17. What is really needed are writers who know how to express an idea so that the reader knows what he is talking about. This writer clearly is not capable of this.

  18. Better yet – move out of town. A lot of mosdos and kollelim in small (and not so small) towns are willing to pay decent salaries to klei kodesh. Most even have kosher pizza shops 🙂

  19. Okay, I am neither a Yeshivish speaker nor from NY/NJ. What is the definition of shteller/shtelle? A teaching position is what I got from the context. This had to be one of the more confusing things I have read on Matzav, and that is saying a lot.