Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash90
Rav Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman

Anyone can treat a difficult or misbehaving student as garbage. Anyone can just throw him out. But it takes a teacher to transform him into the gedolim and nashim tzidkanios that Rav Shteinman envisions.

If a mechanech does not realize what treasures sit directly before him, chas v’shalom, he may claim he only agreed to watch “silver coins.” But in fact he has before him the purest gold. He has before him neshamos kedoshos.

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Rav Shteinman was determined that his listeners truly understand the importance of never dismissing, ignoring, or overlooking any student.

“Let me give you another example,” he told them. “You know that Rav Chaim Volozhin established the yeshiva in Volozhin, which existed for exactly seventy years. The yeshiva had roshei yeshiva – Rav Chaim Volozhiner, and then his son Rav Yitzchak, and then a son-in-law of Rav Chaim, and another son-in-law, and then the Netziv.”

He sighed. The Netziv led the yeshiva for fifty of its seventy years. “Yes, the Netziv, who had not been particularly well thought of [mi’techilah chashvu alav she’hu lo kol kach], turned out to be very special. Because of the Netziv, for fifty years all of Volozhin existed and thrived.”

Give heed. Teach with your heart. Love your students. You never know, the next Netziv may very well be sitting in your classroom.

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