Op-Ed: Is Chinuch a Second Class Shlichus?



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    Shifra Vepua

    Op-Ed: Is Chinuch a Second Class Shlichus?

    Op-ed by Rabbi Gershon Avtzon: This winter, I had a very unique opportunity: I flew with my entire family to Berlin Germany. I have never traveled overseas with my entire family before. As my wife and I are B”H both educators, and included in that is the limited budget that educators live on (an entirely separate topic..), it is not very reasonable or practical for us to indulge in such travels • Full Article

    By Rabbi Gershon Avtzon – Cincinnati Ohio

    This winter, I had a very unique opportunity: I flew with my entire family to Berlin Germany. I have never traveled overseas with my entire family before. As my wife and I are B”H both educators, and included in that is the limited budget that educators live on (an entirely separate topic..), it is not very reasonable or practical for us to indulge in such travels.

    When my wife’s brother got engaged to the daughter of Rabbi and Mrs. Teichtel – the Rebbe’s Shluchim to Berlin – I knew that we would have to figure something out. The simcha, and the Hachnasas Orchim of the Shluchim –  was very special and it was amazing to visit the places in Berlin where the Rebbe lived and studied. While I could write at length about the special wedding, I would like to share with you part of a conversation that took place after the Chasuna.

    After my children went to sleep, I went to the “guest room” to get some refreshments. In the room were some of the friends of the Chassan, who had come in from 770 for the Chasuna, and an informal conversation began. These boys are very Chassidishe boys and the focus of the conversation was that they would all like to dedicate themselves to be Shluchim of the Rebbe and be front line soldiers in the Rebbe’s army.

    I turned to them and asked them, as I saw how dedicated these Temimim were, and asked them if any of them were thinking of becoming Shluchim in Mosdos Chinuch and they all said absolutely not! When I asked them why not, their response was that Chinuch is “second class shlichus” and they would like to be “first class Shluchim”.

    One of them even told me a story that he heard from his Mashpia. This mashpia got married and was offered a position in a Mossad Chinuch. He went to his mashpia and asked him if he should accept the position. His mashpia answered that even though Chinuch is not the ideal shlichus, he should still accept the position because “not everyone merits to be a first class Shliach”.

    Being very open and honest, I was shocked. That a mashpia should be living his life thinking that he is not a “real” shliach of the Rebbe – and even expressing that to his Talmidim – is detrimental to him and his Shlichus. I spend the next three hours trying to explain to these young, pure and idealistic temimim that the Rebbe values the dedication to Chinuch (at least) just as much as a shliach that is dedicating himself to the balebatim of his city.

    [There is obviously one obvious difference between the two types of Shlichus. When one is an educator, it is much easier to forget that you are a shliach and start looking at it as just a job that you do. That is why every educator must know the answer that Rabbi Shlomo Zarchi – mashpia in 770 – received from the Rebbe. When R’ Shlomo Zarchi became Mashpia in 770, he asked the Rebbe if he was considered to be on Shlichus. The Rebbe answered that “if it is with Mesirah uNesina” – to be completely given over and dedicated to the task – then yes, this is Shlichus”.]

    To me it is very clear that the Rebbe has two equal tracks of Avodas Hashlichus: 1) Shlichus in Chinuch 2) Shlichus B’arei Hasadeh. While we should be inspiring our Talmidim to dedicate themselves and become Shluchim of the Rebbe, we should not instill in them a feeling that being a mechanech is really less of a desired position by the Rebbe. This leads to the collapse of Mosdos Chinuch and the destruction of the future generations of Chassidim. Mechanchim need to be boosted and celebrated not put down and denegraded.

    Every yungerman should make an honest Cheshbon Hanefesh, with his Mashpia, as to where his talents can be expressed the best and fullest in the service of Hashem. When a person is expressing and utilizing their talents, they are happier, more successful and remain dedicated to their work. If you know that you can be successful in Chinuch, don’t feel that you are not really being a “front line soldier of the Rebbe” by accepting the position.

    I would even suggest that – with the hadracha of a mashpia – yungeleit should take “talent tests” to see what their true talents and abilities are. This feeling was reinforced when I saw the following story which was written by my dearest melamed: Rabbi Shmaryahu Katzen A”H.

    “After I had been learning in yeshivah for a while, I felt the need to go out into the work world, but I was not sure what I should do. As was my way by now, I turned to the Rebbe, who recommended I take an aptitude test, which would identify my natural inclinations. I did so, and the test showed that I would most like to “help people.” But I was not sure what that meant in terms of a profession: Should I become a social worker? When I informed the Rebbe of the results, he said, “If you’d like to help others, you should consider becoming a teacher.“You can benefit others by teaching them love of G-d, faith, self-confidence“and love for their fellow Jew.”

    Rabbi Katzen was a legendary teacher in Crown Heights that taught hundreds of children over many decades in Chinuch. He led the mesibas shabbas every week in 770 and inspired generations.

    To all Mechanchim: Thank you! Chazak Chazak Venischazek!

    Please feel free to share your thoughts on the above with me by sending me a personal email: [email protected]

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    Op-Ed: Is Chinuch a Second Class Shlichus?



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