The Jewish Eye
Rav Yaakov Neiman Zt"l Teaches Us The Tools Of The Trade
"Ein Davar HaOmed Lifnei HaRatzon" Many Gedolim testified to their weak mental capabilities in their youth. Yet their sheer desire turned them into Gedolei Yisroel. Burning desire as a yardstick for success is illustrated in the following story.
There was a boy who came from a family that was not very Torah oriented, and lived in a non-religious community in Eretz Yisroel. Despite his less than stellar Torah education, the boy had a great desire to learn Torah and when it came time to go to a post high school Yeshiva, war broke out in his home over his decision. Reluctantly his mother traveled with him to the famous yeshiva Ohr Yisroel in Petach Tikva.
The Rosh Yeshiva Rav Yaakov Neiman Zt"l tested the boy and then came out to report to his mother that the boy lacked the background and the tools to be successful in their Yeshiva. The Yeshiva was not equipped to train young men on his level. He suggested another Yeshiva that he thought would be more appropriate.
Listening to the conversation from the side, the boy burst out crying. Surprised, the Rosh Yeshiva turned to him and asked him why he was crying. He told the Rosh Yeshiva how hard he fought to convince his mother to let him come for an interview. Now that he was rejected, there was no guarantee that he would be able to convince his parents to let him take a test at the next Yeshiva.
Immediately the Rosh Yeshiva turned to the mother and told her that her son was accepted to the Yeshiva. The mother then asked a bit perturbed, but I thought your Yeshiva is not capable of properly teaching my son? The Rosh Yeshiva answered that he rejected him before he burst out into tears because his knowledge base was lacking. However the greatest tool for success in learning in heartfelt desire. Desire can make up for any deficiency and he will no doubt see great success from his learning.
Whether we are teenagers or middle age men or even seniors who have never seen success in learning, it is not too late. Yes we many not be brilliant, nor do we have many tools, but desire is possible at any age and it will take us to wherever we want to go. It is Hashem's Torah and he gives it to those who really want it.
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