What would you tell a Yeshiva bochur who’s afraid to learn because his friends will make fun of him?
I don’t know what that means. In the Yeshiva, everybody learns, no? If not, you’re in the wrong place or you have the wrong friends. And outside the Yeshiva, you’re still a Yeshiva man; what else should you do besides learn? The fact that they’ll make fun of you, that’s great! You know how great is the reward for doing a mitzvah and having people mock you?!
Let’s say you’re at home and you have a big sister, or a brother-in-law who ridicules you when you are busy learning. Ahh! You’re a lucky fellow! So what should you do? Take out the biggest Gemara you can find – even though all you want to say is a little piece of Chumash – take out the biggest Gemara, hide the Chumash behind the Gemara, and burn her eyes out with the big Gemara. And say it in a loud voice, להכעיס. Demonstrate that you’re proud. And you have reason to be proud. You’re studying the words of Hashem. You’re thinking Hashem’s thoughts. Of course you should be proud. Because your sister is a fool or your brother-in-law is a fool, therefore you’re going to yield?! Not at all! You’re a success!
And the more you are ridiculed, the more you are opposed, the bigger is your reward. The more there are scoffers who belittle you, the greater will be your reward.