This was written by a Bochur going on Shlichus, for the benefit of a younger Bochur who is preparing to start his first year in Zal. It describes his own first year Zal experience, and how it impacted his entire life:
I was a typical Bochur for most of my yeshiva life: I learned, Davened, and participated in Farbrengens, and was generally content with myself. The plan was to continue on to a ‘typical’ Yeshiva - one where all my friends would be going. But a nagging feeling that all wasn’t right quickly went from a fleeting and passing unease to a constant throb at the forefront of my mind.
I was a ‘good boy’, and that was my problem. I learned just enough to pass my tests; Chassidus meant no more than academic theory, a Farbrengen was a pleasurable pastime, and Davening was more about saying all the words then about the One to whom I am connecting. A long and soul – searching conversation with my Mashpia, convincing me to “go out of my box” and try the “unconventional”, ended up changing the course of my entire existence.
I found myself at the other end of the world, in Johannesburg, South Africa, in what would become my oasis of Chassidic life, of Yeshiva life… nay, of life itself.
This Yeshiva is an apparent study in contrasts. The Pnimiyus: the flame of yesteryear as the lifeblood of the yeshiva, that pulsates through the minds and hearts of the Bochurim; the authentic, time honored Chassidic beauty of Lubavitch, of Chassidus, of Rebbe, all merging with the ‘Chitzoniyus’: material Harchovo in the dormitory accommodations and grounds, that create a setting free of distractions, and enable a Bochur to focus on Torah & Avodas Hashem.
The atmosphere, too, affirms this duality. It’s relaxed and calming - the trees and the birds, with the rushing sound of the waterfall in Yeshiva’s own garden; a Gan Eden of sorts for the mind and the body but also for the Neshama. These two dimensions are not a duality rather they unite harmoniously in creating the perfect environment for the growth of a Bochur.
Creating an environment for a Bochur’s development is a necessary starting point, but only a ‘Kli’, a prerequisite, for the awe inspiring dedication and loving care of the Hanhala and Shluchim. It is obvious that they internalized the Rebbe’s words that the purpose of the existence of the Yeshiva and its Hanhala is only for the sake of the Bochurim. Every hour of the day and night is dedicated to teaching, guiding and inspiring each Bochur according to his needs.
I can go on for hours about what I gained there. The first Ma’amar I really learned properly; the first time I felt a real, personal connection to the Rebbe. Moshiach was suddenly at the forefront of my mind, and Davening acquired an entirely different meaning. I was finally being challenged. Challenged to grow, to strive, to make it real.
As I prepare to head out on “Bochur Shlichus”, hopefully inspiring many younger Bochurim, I have a new appreciation for what I gained. More than the Shiurim and Farbrengens, it was the personal connection to the Hanhala that gave me the fundamental tools for learning and Davening, and enabled me to change my own life.
As we will now part ways and find ourselves at different sides of the world, I know that with Hashem’s help, I’ll keep up our connection, just as my Mashpi’im & Shluchim did for me. With Hashem’s help and without a doubt, we will all be together in Yerushalayim, in the ultimate Yeshiva, the 3rd Beis HaMikdash, where we will learn Torah Chadasha from the Rebbe Melech HaMoshiach, right NOW!
Yeshiva Gedola Lubavitch of South Africa, directed by Rabbi Noam Wagner, is currently accepting Bochurim entering Shiur Alef and Beis Zal who are looking to utilize the year to the utmost in an environment conducive to growth in learning and chassidishkeit.
For more information and to register please visit www.yglsa.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org