What does one do in a yeshiva where you have wicked people who ridicule you if you did a good thing?
The answer is there is no such thing. It’s like the man who joined the army and he said to the sergeant who was scolding him, “Why is everybody out of step with me?”
So if a person joins a yeshiva and he discovers that there are wicked people there, he better discover what is wrong with him! And I mean that seriously. In a yeshiva there aren’t wicked people. Of course, there are all kinds of people there; there are some people who need training, there are some people who are raw, some people who are contentious, but wicked people don’t go to a yeshiva.
I happen to know about yeshivas. I have fought with yeshiva men for many years; I fought with them! Not with all of them; some of them. But there aren’t any wicked ones in the yeshiva. I have been forty years in a yeshiva world and there are no wicked ones in the yeshiva.
TAPE # 266 (June 1979)
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? And outside the Yeshiva, a Yeshiva man; what else should he do besides learn? The fact that they’ll make fun of him, that’s great! You know how great is the reward for doing a mitzvah and people mock you?!
Let’s say you’re at home and you have a big sister who ridicules you because you’re always learning. Ahh! You’re a lucky fellow! So 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, li’hachis. To heck with her. Demonstrate that you’re proud! And you have reason to be proud. Because she’s stupid, therefore you’re going to yield?!
And the more you are ridiculed, the more you are opposed, the bigger is your reward. Like it says, כנגד המלעיגים. The more there are scoffers who belittle you, the greater will be your reward.
TAPE # 504 (April 1984)