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Wednesday
Sep062017

HEARING WHAT IS IN THE HEART OF THE STUDENT

R’ Aviram Magor: My mechanech: R’ YY Wilschansky, Rosh Yeshiva

My first significant meeting with R’ Wilschansky was as a skinny youth, when I came to be tested for yeshiva g’dola (beis midrash). I am the oldest boy in my family so I had no older brothers in the yeshiva and I was nervous. R’ Wilschansky had me come to his house, to his study, for the exam. I was alone, but R’ Wilschansky made me feel as relaxed as possible. I felt that he was accepting me as I am, that he wasn’t trying to test me. I simply felt loved by him.

This continued after I was accepted as a talmid in the yeshiva. It is a very personal relationship which is hard to find in yeshivos g’dolos. Later on, when I spoke with my friends, I realized that it wasn’t just me, but how everyone felt.

One of the special things I picked up from R’ Wilschansky is his educational approach. On the one hand, R’ Wilschansky ran the entire yeshiva with a firm hand; on the other hand, he knew how to relate to everyone individually, and to adapt the educational policy to each student, providing him exactly what he needed.

As far as I was concerned, he reached me in the exact place that I needed. He knew how to neutralize all the inner turmoil and reach your heart. Today, when I am in chinuch and I find myself in difficult situations with children and bachurim, even when there is a lot of chaos around, I think of the rosh yeshiva and I am reminded how he acted with me. Boruch Hashem, this approach has proven to be effective.

Till today, we still have a warm relationship. When we meet, he remembers me and he always asks me questions and takes an interest in me. This is despite the fact that twenty years have passed since I left the yeshiva. I feel that I still interest him. From my perspective, this is a fitting complement to how he treated me in yeshiva. When you feel that it does not end at the conclusion of shiur gimmel, but continues for decades, you realize that this isn’t simply a tactical approach, but a matter of character, a way of life for a preeminent educator.

When I was in shiur gimmel, my father was very sick. I went through an extremely difficult time. I had to handle household work and outside work in order to support the family, and to run between hospitals. I had to leave yeshiva for half a year. R’ Wilschansky would call and ask what’s going on, how are things, how is my father. When he saw that the situation was dragging on, he suggested that I come to yeshiva for weekends so I would not be completely cut off from yeshiva, and that’s what I did.

Another thing that accompanies me till today is everything connected with Moshiach and the belief that the Rebbe is chai v’kayam. On Gimmel Tammuz 5754, we were in shiur gimmel in yeshiva k’tana (mesivta) in Tzfas. As soon as we heard the news, the rosh yeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchok Isaac Landau, sent us to the mikva because Moshiach is coming. I remember running to the Sanz mikva in the old city and feeling jealous of the bachurim who were returning from the mikva already and would see Moshiach before I did.

In the evening, we went upstairs to the yeshiva g’dola. There was great confusion. Some cried and there were those who were infused with faith like R’ Wilschansky. He farbrenged there all night. It was a huge event, so that today, after twenty-three years, when I feel that I need to strengthen my emuna, I remember R’ Wilschansky farbrenging all night, talking about Moshiach, about the Rebbe being here, and that we are the seventh generation and this is all concealment, reviewing the Rebbe’s sichos and the weekly D’var Malchus and repeating that everything the Rebbe said would happen, and this reignites my spark.

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