Yitzie Milworn - Letters To a Younger Talmud - What You Know
Updated: Sep 15, 2019
In five years of learning in Yeshiva, you learn a lot and not just Torah, but you accumulate a knowledge of what it is to be a "Yeshiva Buchur". You learn how to get by in the often challenging environment that is Yeshiva.
So in an attempt to pass on some of this knowledge, I'm writing a letter to you, a younger Talmud or maybe I'm writing to my past self. I want to see you succeed where I failed. I want you to take my mistakes and turn them into successes.
I see it fitting to start with a joke I heard early on in my yeshiva career and didn't really understand until now, the star of my sixth year. Two older students, let's say sixth years, of one of the great Musur Yeshivot of Europe, were sitting in the Beis Midrash and talking. A younger student happens to overhear their discussion, it went something like, "man you wouldn't believe how worthless I am they should have kicked me out of here years ago" his friend responds "you think your nothing? I'm lower than the dirt on the bottom of the town beggers' shoes!". The young student is totally confused and says load enough for the older students to hear, "wow, if you guys are such nothings then I must be the lowest of the lows". The to older students turn to him in shock and anger, " what do you mean your nothing?! Kid you just got here, you gotta do something before you can be nothing!".
I guarantee you didn't laugh after treading that, its one of those yeshiva jokes that only Rosh Yeshivas and Mashgichim find funny. But every joke holds some truth to it, that's what makes them so funny.
so what's the truth here? You get to Yeshiva and for maybe the first time in your life you start learning, like really start learning, and what do you think? Man, I'm terrible at this, my medot are horrible, I'm nowhere near the other guys in my shuir, I can't even learn an amud of Gemara, etc.
But you wanna know what? That's fine. No one expects you to be a gadul hador right out the gates. You haven't done enough for anyone to be disappointed in you, nevermind you being disappointed in yourself! You've made it to Yeshiva, that's better than so many other people can say, and hopefully, you're giving it your all. And ill tell you what that's all that's important.
Believe you me, if you stick with it you'll get to that point where you can call yourself nothing, but first you've got to realize some of that potential first. So do me a favor, keep going, let that potential develop, you'll make it someday.
Yours in learning and in life,