Are Tests Really Necessary in Yeshivos?



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    הצלה 1290

    Are Tests Really Necessary in Yeshivos?

    From the desk of Rabbi Gershon Avtzon, Director of Yeshivas Lubavitch – Cincinnati: I’m a bachur in Beis Medrash and am very much involved in learning. I am a little frustrated by the fact that the hanhala puts such an emphasis on tests. I feel that we are old enough to be learning for the sake of learning without the pressure of tests. What is the Rebbe’s approach to this? • Click to Read

    Question: I’m a bachur in Beis Medrash (“Zal”) and baruch Hashem very much involved in learning. I am a little frustrated by the fact that the hanhalla puts such an emphasis on tests. I understand that children need tests and possibly even bachurim in Mesivta (high school age). I feel that we are old enough to be learning for the sake of learning without the pressure of tests. What is the Rebbe’s approach to this?

    Answer:

    While I understand your frustration, you may be shocked to find out that not only is the Rebbe not against the testing of the older boys, the Rebbe was the one that initiated and pushed the idea of having tests and reports of progress for the Talmidim!

    Let us review a few letters of the Rebbe on this topic:

    (1) In 5712, the Rebbe wrote to the famous askan, Rabbi Eliezer Karasik: “Thank you for the good news that the testing of the students of Lod has begun … I am suggesting that the same should be done in the Yeshiva of Toras Emes (Yerushlayim) that we find someone fitting to test the students and young married men that are learning there.” (Igros, Vol. 6 p. 283; #1789).

    “Not In a Public Setting”

    (2) The Rebbe followed up with an official letter to the hanhalla of the Yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel: “It has been for a while that I have had the will and desire to know the capabilities of the Yeshivas students in Nigla (Gemara, Halacha) and Chassidus. Just as it was in Lubavitch that there were tests from time to time (usually at the end of the zman), therefore I request that the same should be for the students in the Yeshivos in Eretz Yisroel.”

    The Rebbe adds some detailed instructions: “The testing should be done by two committees. A committee for the NIgleh tests and a committee for the Chassidus testing. One teacher of the two Yeshivos — plus an agreed upon third person — should do the testing and even the older boys should be included in this testing process which should not be done in a public setting.” (Ibid, p. 360; #1864).

    You Failed To Show Up to the Tests

    (3) In 5718, the Rebbe responded to a student that had a medical issue and there were conflicting diagnoses from two doctors. After addressing the medical issue, the Rebbe adds: “I am using this opportunity of correspondence to point out that upon your recents visit here, there were a few inappropriate things which occurred: a) You once came without the permission of the Hanhalla. b) You once failed to show up to the test of your learning of Chassidus and Nigleh, which are done according to my request (the bold is in the original letter). c) At the test which you did attend, you did not do well.

    It is understood that none of the above is appropriate at all. This is especially true of a student of Tomchei Temimim in our generation. A Tamim has the obligation to be a positive lamplighter to those on the outside and this is only possible if the person himself is acting properly in their personal development.” (Igros, Vol. 16 p. 95; #5873).

    The Lesson From The Tzemach Tzedek’s “Farhers”

    On the subject of testing, I would like to share a lesson that the Rebbe taught from the testing of the Rebbe, the Tzemach Tzedek:

    In Hayom Yom (8 Teves), the Rebbe writes: “The Tzemach Tzedek instructed all the melamdim of his young grandchildren that in addition to the regular studies, they should also teach the plain meaning of the words of the prayers. Once a month, the children would come to the Tzemach Tzedek to be tested.”

    In a letter (Igros, Vol. 24 p. 48; #9071) written to the participants in the Dinner for Yeshivas Tomchei Temimim in 5726, the Rebbe points out:

    “The Tzemach Tzedek was a world-renowned scholar and authority in Halacha, and was very busy with communal affairs, yet he personally tested his grandchildren (and rewarded them if they did well). This shows how dedicated we need to be to Torah education.”

    The Moshiach Connection:
    On Shabbos Parshas Vaeira 5752 (1992), the Rebbe mentioned that the knowledge that at any moment the Rebbe will walk in and test us to see what we accomplished in these final moments of Galus, will inspire us to do our Avodah in the fullest sense.
    In the Rebbe’s words:
    “Knowing that any moment my father-in-law the Rebbe is about to walk in and at that moment he will look at all of his Chassidim and those who are connected to the Rebbe and determine on the spot who and what he really is … helps us finish our job in its perfect way.”

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    Tags:

    1. Rabbi Mendel Z.

      A Tamim has the obligation to be a positive lamplighter to those on the outside and this is only possible if the person himself is acting properly in their personal development

    2. Yosef Chaim

      if the rebbe says to take tests then I’ll do it happily.
      but it shouldn’t turn into a thing that hanhola over do.

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