Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Another Side of Your Talmid- A letter to menahalim and rabbeim

Dear Menahalim and Rabbeim,

I’d like to better introduce you to your talmid ________. What’s that you say? You already know him? I am not so sure. At most, you know a very small side of him. As the head counselor at Sdei Chemed, I saw a side of your precious talmid that he doesn’t get to show you in yeshiva. You know what kind of learner he is, or at least how he is at learning gemara, in the way that it is taught at your yeshiva. Do you know how much he likes singing at kumzitzes and during Shabbos zemiros? Did you ever see him close his eyes and put all of his neshoma into a song? What about chessed? Are you aware how much your talmid excels at chessed? How he packed care packages for Israeli soldiers and Israelis living under the threat of terror?

He’s probably not going to tell you about the carnival he helped put on along with his camp-mates in Bet Shemesh for children whose summer was disrupted due to rocket attacks from Gaza, so allow me to do so. With complete selflessness, he stood for hours manning a game booth, so that little kids could have fun for a few hours, and forget about the sound of the “tzeva adom” alerts. When, in fact, a siren went off at the end of the carnival, your wonderful talmid helped lead panicked parents and children to the shelters and sang with them to provide comfort. At the end, when everyone was exhausted, he cleaned up until the room where the carnival was held was spotless. Do you know what kind of a mess shaving cream, popcorn and chocolate spread can make?

I could go on and on. I could tell you about how your talmid bought pizza for an Israeli soldier, with his own money, how he visited and cheered up sick people and soldiers in the hospital, how he loves learning Torah on hikes, and about the time he helped start a moving experience of slow singing and tefillah for hundreds of Israelis at the Kotel on Tisha B’Av, but I think you get my point.

I guess my point is this. Now that you know this about him, what are you going to do differently? Will you provide more opportunities for him to continue to grow into the gadol of chessed that he might become? Will your yeshiva give him ways to connect with his neshoma that don’t involve a blatt gemara? At the very least, will you stop evaluating him purely based on how he reads a Tosafos? Please?


Pesach Sommer

Camp Sdei Chemed Boys Head Counselor 2014

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