Learning never ends. Except, the school year at Yeshivos did practically end last week. It’s not because of a late winter weather storm, the outbreak of the Omicron variant, or some teacher’s strike.
It’s possible that the hanhala of the yeshivas don’t announce it and the parents don’t know it, but every bochur knows it – summer begins on Yud Shevat.
Why? because that is when the camps begin recruiting their staff members – counselors, learning teachers, kitchen staff, lifeguards, etc. – for the summer season.
And once that happens, you can feel the energy shifting in the Zal. All the chatter is about who was selected to go here, the plans of a particular head staffer, and possible changes to a program.
The gemara is there in front of us, yet our heads are elsewhere. The maggid shiur is explaining the opening Mishnah, and all we’re thinking about is opening day.
I understand why the camps rush to get it done – they want the best summer, and for that, they need the best staff before someone else snatches that bochur. Each camp wants to be competitive.
So the race begins on Yud Shevat (although some occasionally and secretly break that unwritten rule). Our parents pay tuition for the Elul to Tammuz school year. In reality, summer begins in Shevat.
What I don’t understand is how the hanhalah allows this mess to happen.
They don’t want it, our parents don’t want it (they pay tuition for Elul-Tammuz), and we the bochurim don’t want it either!
Before you dismiss this as an op-ed by a bochur who loves learning, let me tell you that I chat plenty with my chavrusa and enjoy the off days when we get them. I also enjoy my sanity and this race for the summer creates madness. Just like parents wanting to sign up their kids, we too worry about being accepted and rejected.
So I don’t know what the best solution is. Maybe hanhalas should agree upon a set date (Pesach Sheini? Lag Baomer?) when recruiting for camps will officially start. If everyone agrees to it, there won’t be snatching away staff members and we will be able to have another few quiet months of learning – and peace.
And if all hanhalahs can’t get together to agree on this, maybe just one of them will put their foot down and then everyone will follow.