Video: Rav Shteinman: “Yiras Shomayim?! It’s Gayva! Gayva!”

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rav-shteinman[VIDEO below.] An intriguing exchange a few years ago with Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman, senior rosh yeshiva of Yeshiva Orchos Torah in Bnei Brak, has been released by Kikar HaShabbos, revealing strong words from one of the gedolei hador. In the video which can be viewed below, Rav Sholom Ber Sorotzkin, menahel of Cheder Ateres Shlomo in Bet Shemesh, is seen visiting and consulting with Rav Shteinman.

The primary issue that Rav Sorotzkin discussed with Rav Shteinman revolved around a father of students in the cheder who had remarried and had asked the cheder to accept his wife’s children. For various reasons, Rav Sorotzkin had refused to accept the children. The father was adamant, however, so Rav Sorotzkin went to Rav Shteinman for guidance. Rav Shteinman told Rav Sorotzkin that, despite his concerns, he must accept the children, stating that there is no such thing as a school not being “the right one” for certain children.

Rav Shteinman addressed the very common situation in which certain parents insist that their child’s school or cheder only accept children from families very similar to their own.

Mothers and fathers have shed copious tears over recent years after having been rejected from chadorim or schools because someone felt that they didn’t fit the mold, especially when the reason was not a problem of modesty or frumkeit, but rather background and general perception.

In midst of Rav Sorotzkin’s discussion with Rav Shteinman, Rav Shteinman stated unequivocally that one cannot say that a cheder is “not the appropriate type” for a child, because there is no way to know.

Rav Sorotzkin asks if it is his cheder‘s responsibility to accept the two children of the aforementioned widow from Bnei Brak who married the Bet Shemesh father who has his own children in the cheder.

Rav Shteinman responded: “If it is the only cheder, what would you do? Tell him he should go to America? ”

After several exchanges trying to clarify what the issue is, Rav Sorotzkin finally said that one of the parents in his cheder says he can tell and sense whether a parent is suitable for the school.

Rav Shteinman, in strong fashion, responded that there is always a person who is concerned about his “gayva,” his pride. “Nothing else but his pride and arrogance. Don’t think he is a yorei Shomayim, it is only gayvah…. The Brisker Rov went to a talmud Torah. Who else learned learned there? All the troublemakers… There was one person who wouldn’t send his kids there, because how could he send his kids to the cheder of the Briskers? I learned there, the children of the Brisker Rov learned there, Rav Dovid learned there… So for the Brisker Rov it was all right to send his children there, but this person couldn’t send his children there? What was wrong about it? It is only gayvah…”

Rav Shteinman continued: “It happens that children ‘get ruined’. Good kids also get ruined. In all the best chadorim, there are no good kids who get ruined? Kids get ruined.”

Click below to view the video:

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{Yair Israel/Video posted with permission from Kikar HaShabbos}


  1. How about so many Yeshivohs who only accept boys who are academic geniuses. The regular boys are rejected and seperated from their friends forever. The parents are heart-broken, cry when they are Benching Licht, and the young Bar-mitzvah-age boys feel like failures and feel totaly abandoned.

    All this rejectons of regular boys, like you and I, is done in the name “L’Hagdil Torah, Ul’Hadiroh”. Hashem Yerachem.

  2. If only such a statement would make a difference in peoples (and schools) approach to this matter. It won’t- specifically because of what Rav Shteinman said. Had the primary motivation been yiras shomyim we would see vast changes, but we won’t because it is “Nothing else but his pride and arrogance…” and that does not listen yo daas torah.

  3. This forsure was a situation of a ‘Sephardic’ family getting into the chder hence in article ‘but rather background and general perception’ So if people think they have it bad in the US not accepting their children well Sephardim have it worse in Eretz Yisroel, and its complete discrimination of what there doing to them.

  4. The more and more I hear of what R Shteinman shlita actually says, the more and more we see what a sensitive and truly caring gadol hador he really is.

    It is so obvious based on this exchange as well as other comments he has made, that it is really the kannoim (full of gayva) who are running the show,and ruining yiddishkeit today.

  5. Please confirm when this video was taken as it cannot be rrecent. Rav Shteinman’s Gabbai in this clip was Niftar a few months ago after an illness. This must have been from a few years ago. Why is it first surfacing now?

  6. Its great to see what Rav Shteinman said. You can see he was pressing Rav Shteinman and trying to change his mind, by stating that the parent who can sense what “type” they are is a “chashuver yungerman”. Rav Shteinman shoots back – “so what? so he is a “groiser ba’al ga’avah”!! See 3:06 – 3:30 in the clip. I love it.

  7. Sometimes, boys who seem like “not-such-great learners” in high school turn into something very special just a few years later. Hashem loves the kids who aren’t “mitzuyanim” as much as He loves those with more hasmoda or brains. Too bad some yeshivos don’t.

  8. That’s the “key” difference, that separates real people from fake ones, “ovdei hashem” and “lo ovdei hashem” – YIRAS SHAMYAIM” or is it just “GAAVEH”. We have to examine ourselves (myself included), are we interested in what HASHEM WANTS or in what WE WANT. Are we real people? Also, do we emphasize ok ok, we do a little bit, but it’s a joke. isn’t “fearing God” and living with hashem such a fundamental base of all of yidishkeit? we need to SCREAM and say that mussar seder is a fundamental base of yidishkeit!! ,

    ask yourself this question – what am i doing for hashem ? and what i am doing , just because I am comfortable doing it, since everyone else is and etc reasons.
    Does anyone see it the way i do ? or are we all Baalei Gaavah – which has it’s root in selfishness, and just thinking about oursleves on the deepest level , in the core of our hearts – that is gaaveh – that’s destruction. God please help us!

  9. Rav Schach ZT”L would combine the two gemoros

    ” Hizoaru bivnei anei’im, smahem teizi torah”- be careful with the children of the poor, as from them Torah will grow

    and ” ain oni eloh bdaas”- one is not poor unless he lacks knowledge [of Torah]

  10. #6:
    the article clearly states this exchange is from “a few years ago”. I’m wondering what the nafka minah is as to when it’s from -clearly the situation is an important one,more to the point,unfortunately it doesn’t seem the Rov’s words were obeyed.

  11. The yetzer hora comes in many forms, but its favorite is when it gets us to chet in the name of frumkeit. Our challenge today is not to keep our cheders “pure” (sounds like Nazism), but rather not to be JUDGMENTAL!!!!!


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