The Rav speaks often about the importance of speaking Yiddish. What about teaching in the yeshiva in Yiddish to a class that understands English better; is that the right way?
That’s not a moot question; it’s a very important question. It’s worth teaching Yiddish to Ashkenazi boys and girls because in a certain sense it maintains the tradition; it maintains a certain aloofness from the nations – it shows we are a separate people. However, many times the message goes lost in an unfamiliar language. When they teach in a foreign language so the children who barely understand Yiddish are lost – and sometimes the subject matter is so difficult in itself that even in English it’s difficult and now you compound the difficulty by teaching it in Yiddish. And therefore it’s a question.
Some children must have only English instruction. And even then it’s a question if they’ll succeed. Because the Torah subjects are not easy. Chumash for some children is a mountain. It’s remarkable how difficult it is for some children to climb that mountain. And then they need expensive tutors. And gemara?! Gemara is the Alps for some children; many fall down and become discouraged – they become disillusioned because of the difficulties of the studies. And if their difficulty is increased by using a foreign language like Yiddish, it’s a big problem.
And therefore, wherever possible English should be used until the child knows the subject. Then Yiddish should be introduced. Exactly how much Yiddish and how much English has to be left to the teacher on the spot.
This I want to say however; nobody should rely on the yeshivos. You shouldn’t rely on a Bais Yaakov. Don’t just put your children in a yeshiva and think they’re being taken care of. You must check every week to see if your child is keeping up with the class or not. If he’s not, it’s a danger sign. Sometimes, boys go very bad because they’re discouraged and disillusioned. And so it’s very important to spend a lot of time with them. If parents can’t hire tutors they should tutor themselves. Some mothers with little boys sometimes spend evenings teaching them chumash; idealistic women do that and it’s a very good investment.
But one word of caution: even though you hire a tutor don’t rely on him. Many times he’s fooling you. He’s taking money and not seeing that your child knows the work. You have to check on the tutor constantly and make sure that the child is learning.
TAPE # 539