Thoughts on the "off the derech" crisis from 1932

The sefer, Chovos HaTalmidim, A Student’s Obligation, was published in 1932 and written by the Rebbe of Piazeczna, Rav Kalonymous Kalman Shapiro, zt”l.  The sefer, itself, is powerful.  However, the introduction sheds light on students and children leaving the path of Torah Judaism.    I have posted a few pages of the introduction to this sefer here.

The Piazeczna’s description and advice for those “at-risk” speaks to both the young and old, the BT and the FFB, those burned out and those go through the daily motions of Yiddishkeit.  It is almost hard to believe that it was first published over 76 years ago.

In light of several posting recently (Rabbi MarylesDixie Yid, and two from Little Frumhouse on the Prairie) I had been think about posting something myself, but that will have to wait.  If you are in chinuch or a parent or find yourself thinking “do I really need to make a bracha after I eat?” or notice you speed through bentching Shabbos night so that you can get to sleep really early then you really need to read what the Rebbe writes.

In the few pages that I’ve made available as a pdf, the Aish Kodesh brings up things as:

  • Children being rebellious or stuborn students (top of page 7)
  • Parents role in educating the next generation (top of page 10)
  • Children thinking that they are more grown up than they really are (middle of page 11)
  • The slow, small steps that lead us away from Hashem (bottom of page 12)
  • The main thing someone needs to know is that he or she is connected to Hashem (page 15)

These pages are not meant to be read while stopped at a traffic light on the way to work or while waiting in line to pick up your kids from school.  This is the real deal!  I would suggest printing them out and setting aside a few minutes Shabbos night in a comfortable chair with a cup of mint tea and absorbing Rav Shapiro’s persepctive.  Please click here to view and download these few pages read the words of this Tzaddik.

Comments are always welcome.

7 thoughts on “Thoughts on the "off the derech" crisis from 1932

  1. frumhouse

    I really like the evolution of one blogger’s post into another blogger’s related post, and so on. I have read some really great stuff over the past week.

    I will have to give your source a longer look over shabbos with my mint tea!

  2. Shorty

    Thank you for providing this.

    I was just speaking to a teacher last night – I went to Jewish school as a child, all the way through high school in fact.

    At home though, may parents kept kosher by keeping different dishes, but we ate out at McDonalds. We didn’t go to synagogue except on Rosh Hashannah.

    I received mixed messages.

    I learned “facts” in school, but never how to live them.

    I am trying again.

  3. Yaacov David Shulman

    Please note that the entire text of Bnei Machshavah Tovah in English is available at

    It can also be downloaded as a PDF file at

    Please do so, and tell others about it as well.

    Shavua tov.

  4. S.

    One of my fondest childhood memories is one year when a certain rebbe learned Chovos Hatalmidim with us. Without a doubt this was elementary yeshiva education at its finest – although of course it was the rebbe as much as the sefer.


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