How does a bochur in yeshiva remedy a problem of daydreaming when he’s sitting in front of a Gemara?
Nobody daydreams when he’s sitting in front of a plate of ice-cream. You know what I always tell you, that nobody yawns while he’s eating. Do you know when you yawn? You walk into Yeshiva in the morning, you open the Gemara, and the first thing is – you yawn.
If a person has some interest in what’s in front of him, he’s not daydreaming. If he’s bored, then he daydreams. So the real question is, what causes a boy to daydream over the Gemara? Usually it’s because the Gemara is too hard. He’s in a class that’s too advanced for him. Or his Rebbi is not explaining the Gemara well. Sometimes the Rebbi is an ambitious fellow; he wants to say very high-level shiurim, pilpulim, and this poor boy thinks he has a dumb head. He doesn’t! Rather, it’s the Rebbi’s fault. The poor boy is not getting what he needs.
You’ll see that there’s a magic change that every yeshiva boy undergoes when he understands the Gemara. If you explain a piece of Gemara to him in a way that he understands, he’s transformed magically, immediately, and he becomes interested.
It’s nothing but frustration that makes him day daydream. So it’s important to get him to someone who’s able to talk to him, and to analyze why he doesn’t have an interest in what he has to do. But everyone is capable of being a yeshiva man, of learning Gemara. You just need to go about it the right way.
TAPE # 99 (November 1975)