B”H the year has gotten off to a great start as you’ve been following in the updates and, as I hope you’re hearing from your son.  I don’t know of a single Talmid who is unhappy in Monsey and regrets making the decision to come to Mesivta Lev Tmimim Lubavitch.  Apparently, from the reports I’m hearing from the greater community, from the fact that we are still receiving applications (and unfortunatley having to turn people away due to lack of space and resources), you, the parents, are sharing positive feedback with your community and friends. Thank you for this, and for all the emails of personal feedback that you’re providng me with.  It is greatly appreciated – both the positive, as well as the constructive.
At this point, in order to continue to build the Yeshiva in the planned direction and to provide to the parents what we have committed to, I want to reiterate what the Yeshiva’s goals are, and make sure that the parents and every Talmid are fully aware of the expectations.
In a nutshell, Mesivta Lev Tmimim Lubavitch was established in order to provide, what I feel was a specific niche that was lacking in Chabad Mesivta education.  There are quite a few wonderful Yeshivas that provide high quality learning, with very capabale Hanhola and Rebbeim.  There are also excellent Mosdos catering to the needs of special populations such as boys who are “at risk”, or who are questioning their place in the Chabad or Jewish community, as well as boys with special learning or emotional needs. All these Mosdos are doing amazing work and seeing great results.
At the same time, many parents are still feeling that their son is not flourishing in the existing system if they do not fall into any of these exisiting styles.  For many boys who are looking for a serious atmosphere of learning with a strong foundation of Hiskashrus and Chassidishkeit, but still needing a differnt approach, there was not yet a good match.  These boys include both the strong learner, as well as the one struggling with his academics, but the common factor being that they are looking for one or more of the following:
More personal attention and focus on emotional wellbeing and personal growth
  • Smaller learning classes to allow the strong learner to proceed at his pace unhindered, as well as the slower learner to progress in a realistic and achievable manner
  • Room for physical health and extra curricular programming in the curriculum
  • The opportunity to learn essential Limudei Chol skills
  • Hanhola that are dedicated to maintaining a wholesome and safe environment for all Talmidim

and all this in a traditional Lubavitch Mesivta environment, that will allow them to continue on to any Zal as any other Talmid graduating from a Chabad Mesivta would.

I am stressing once more that these goals, the very same goals that I promised you and those that are stated on our website and Mission Statement have not changed.  We are committed to following through and this is our very raison d’etre.

Please take the following words in context of the above.

Our staff and myself are fully devoted to each one of our Talmidim, including your son.  And we will dedicate whatever resources we have to helping him succeed.  But the underlying condition is that both he and you, his parents, must want what our Mosad is offering.  As declared on our home page, we value your son, not by his academic or external achievements, but by his essence, a Chelik Elokah.  And we will not turn away a Talmid who would like to grow and achieve.

However, I must stress again, that Mesivta Lev Tmimim Lubavitch is not a Yeshiva for students questioning, or “rebelling” against Yiddishkeit, nor for students with special emotional or behavioral needs.  Although that population is just as deserving of the opportuinites to grow and succeed, and our community must help them equally, MLTL does not have the resources to provide those services.

Unfortunately, in any Yeshiva and any organization, the needs of the Prat must always be weighed against and in relation to those of the Rabim, and if helping one boy will cause harm to many more, then it is clear that their is no overall benefit as one boy’s success can not be at the expense of others’.

As you may have heard, we have already had to dismiss boys from Yeshiva.  We did so with a very heavy heart and with guidance from experts and Mashpi’im.  I stress to the boys many times that I am not here to make them “religous” (although I hope that through the learning and atmosphere we provide, we will be Matzliach in inspiring them) and matters Bein Odom LaMakom are their personal business.  But at the same time, any kind of external behavior, dress, or other expression, that will affect the atmosphere of Chassidishkeit and Yiras Shomayim of the Yeshiva is not acceptable.  As such, we are very clear with the guidlines of dress, speech, interent usage, keeping times of Sedarim, etc. and are not tolerant of infractions in these areas.  In general, a boy who feels that this environment is stifling or too demanding should consider if this is the right place for him.  A boy who is not seeking a true, traditional, Tomchei Tmimim atmosphere of Taharas Hakodesh is asked to reconsider why he wants to be in MLTL.  Likewise, the parents must want this kind of Chiunch as well.  Again, we are not judging anyone’s observance of Yiddishkeit, but a family that has different values than those that we are striving for, is not a good match for MLTL.

As mentinoed above, there are other Mosdos that do cater to more flexible needs and are tolerant of a wider range of Yiddishkeit observance and Chassidishkeit.  And, Aderaba, if a boy is not feeling comfortable in our environment, then the parents should consider strongly whether trying to force him to be in one will possibly backfire and make him more resentful.  If your son questions the requirement to Daven, for example, or the importance of being a Lubavitcher Chosid, or the messages he gets from home and the things he is exposed to there are contradictory to the Yeshiva’s, then this is not the Mesivta for him.   Of course, we all have questions in our personal growth and we allow any Talmid to ask anything, but the underlying assumption is that a Talmid that came to our Mosad was coming here becuase he wanted a purely Chabad Chinuch and will not feel constricted when these expectations are made of him.

Our curriculum is very warm and varied, as you know, and we are very liberal with our programming in that we expose our Talmidim to a broad range of experiences – but – and I stress – we are not a Chabad House, or a place for “at risk” or disturbed children, and we will demand the highest level of Yirash Shomayim and Chassidishkeit in the atmosphere that we are creating and for the home to mirror that commitment.  We certainly will not allow the slightest amount of harmful exposure to other boys by any Talmid.

If you are still reading at this point, I thank you sincerely.


Before your son came to Yeshiva I asked that you review with him the rules and policies of our Mosad.  I spoke to the boys about these matters and told them that the cuttoff is Tishrei.  The first month was an opportunity to learn what the Yehsiva is about and understand the expecations we have of them and allow them to acclimate.  As mentioned above, we still have many parents contacting us – and even a waiting list since we do not have room for more Talmidim at this point – and I am remaining committed to not diluting our goals.  We must have your full support in order to continue making this Mesivta a success for all the Bochurim.

After reading this email, please reread the policies with your son (link below), and reply to confirm that both he and the parents are committed to doing your best to maintain them.  If it is difficult, or you have a particular concern, please contact me as soon as possible to discuss and do not wait until just before the new Zman begins, and certainly do not send your son back to Yeshiva without addressing all concerns.  Please note that we must have a response in order for your son to return to Yeshiva.

When reviewing the policies, it may be helpful to see this post on the blog regarding the importance of Levushim.

As always, please feel free to contact me with any matter you would like to discuss.

Wishing you a Good Shabbos and Gut Yom Tov,
Rabbi Hami