Online Cheder, TorahChinuch.com, works all year to provide Chinuch with a focus on the real growth of each talmid. Now, a summer program is an extension of this mission.
Online Cheder, TorahChinuch.com, works all year to provide Chinuch with a focus on the real growth of each talmid. Throughout the year, the Cheder makes sure that children are inspired to build a desire to learn, in addition to building their skills to do so. The most important mission of any school is for a talmid to want to learn, to love the learning that must be “chayeinu v’orech yomeinu.” This involves finding out which areas of Torah gain each talmid’s particular interest. The summer program is an extension of this mission.
There are many ways to develop a love of learning, but the answer for how to do so is different in each talmid. Having succeeded in doing this for boys, the Cheder also runs a completely separate girls’ school based on the same ideals and goals.
We use innovative ways to give talmidim a real understanding of Gemara, as can be seen in some of the videos on our site. Memory games bring home the meaning of words and keep lessons fun and memorable. We encourage questions and real understanding. Discussions include a focus on the greatness of following Hashem’s way, giving age appropriate examples that even the yetzer hora can appreciate.
Yet no task is more important for your child’s growth in the ways of Chasidus and even basic Yiddishkeit than developing their connection with Hashem through davening. We’re not speaking of lofty levels, we’re referring to a very basic understanding that children need and that can make a life changing difference for a talmid.
Davening is crucial to developing a talmid’s Yiddishkeit and connection with Hashem. Thoughtful davening changes the meaning of one’s life and how they view all areas of it. Nothing brings home the lessons of Torah better or more effectively. Even behavior and the ability for a child to concentrate changes greatly as a result of proper davening. The “catch” is that this can’t be done in a rigid atmosphere, yet needs to be done seriously and repeatedly. First let’s explain how to make davening meaningful at a Cheder age. Then let’s deal with how to address the pitfalls.
For davening to be meaningful, a talmid needs to be taught the meaning of the words. The clear system that the Rabbeim established makes davening a meaningful connection with Hashem and effects the child and their outlook of the world, as well as their own role in it . It is crucial to Chasidisher life and even to just developing a real sense of purpose.
When a child knows that davening means connection with Hashem, they want to learn how to go about this. They want to know the meaning of the words. Accordingly, one child is given the task of davening while thinking of the meaning of 3 pesukim during each tefila. An older talmid is asked to concentrate on a whole piece at a time. This helps their knowledge of all areas of Torah as well. They quickly learn the meanings of words and view Torah with deeper meaning and ask more pointed questions. Most importantly, davening allows them to see and live the lessons of Torah, lessons that are way too important to just be academic.
The system that the Rabbeim made is easy and is available to all (the first three aspects are detailed in one HaYom Yom, that of the 20th of Tammuz and the fourth is the “bechein” mentioned in detail in many maamorim):
- Learn about the greatness of Hashem or a lesson in Chasidus that inspires, something that is on your level and that you really understand.
- Right before davening, think how who are standing in front of Hashem and are about to speak with Hashem directly. Hashem is with you, hearing you and caring deeply about you; and you are standing in front of Hashem.
- Bring the lesson of what you learned into the davening. “Vhu Rachum” really means “this great Hashem who you learned and thought about is here and has mercy on you.” “Ashrei yoshvei beisecho,” means “happy are those who sit in Your great house, Hashem.”
- Once inspired, bring it down immediately into your daily life. Am I not doing something that Hashem clearly wants me to do? Am I doing something that Hashem would be happy if I wouldn’t? This makes the davening real, effective and life changing.
Like anything precious and effective, there are also things that one should not do. Davening is serious and should not be done looking at a screen, with chat on or any other distraction. The reasons for distractions may be noble, but they weaken the entire davening. The best thing is to encourage children to daven before class, with charts from the school and monitored progress. If it must be done in class, then it must be a reflective time and done in the proper and serious atmosphere, with no distractions, certainly not that of muting and unmuting for song. When given the tools and the meaning of words, reinforced by memory games and in class discussion, the child can daven on their own with sincerity and actually wants to do this.
Halacha and Gemara are also taught in the same manner. They are the Rotzon Hashem and gifts that allow you to lead a life of meaning and accomplishment by walking with Hashem on the path of the Holy Torah. Chumash has profound lessons as explained both by our Rabbaim and often by Rashi or within the context itself.
The famous Matan Torah Gemara, Shabbos 88b, tells us clearly that Torah is a source of life when one delves into and understands a subject. The Frierdiker Rebbe points out that not delving into topics is the definition of klipas yovon and an extension of what they wanted to do to our Torah. When talmidim know the importance of Torah, explained in a way that they can relate to, they take it seriously. When they learn subjects that they enjoy the most, when all questions are discussed and all subjects are explained, the result is a real understanding of Torah. This is the goal of our school and all of its programs.
To find out about the summer program, the cheder, the mesivta and the separate girls’ online school, please visit www.TorahChinuch.com or contact the school at [email protected], (917) 830-3364.