Our Rabbi and the Yeshiva Students - Part 4

Once, a group of students from the Religious Kibbutz Movement was scheduled to come and study at Mercaz Ha-Rav for a month. Some of the Yeshivah students complained that the Yeshiva was unable to absorb so many students, and that in order to strengthen the study atmosphere the Yeshiva had to first become crystallized from within. Our Rabbi, though, was uncompromising in his desire to receive the group, exclaiming, "Any thought of divorcing our Yeshiva from the concrete settlement of the Land of Israel, will not come to be."

On another occasion our Rabbi instructed one student in a certain manner and another in an opposite manner. When asked why he contradicted himself our Rabbi explained that once upon a time there had been both Hillel and Shammai: Shammai chased away the prospective convert because there was Hillel, and Hillel taught the very same convert the "entire Torah" on one foot because there was Shammai. "What can I do - I have no choice but to be both Hillel and Shammai."

What do you want to do?
Ha-Rav Shlomo Aviner once asked our Rabbi what he should do with his life. Our Rabbi asked him: "What do you want to do?" His dedicated student responded: "I want to do what the Rav wants me to do." Our Rabbi repeated: "But what do you want to do?" Once again, Rav Aviner answered that he wanted to do whatever the Rosh Yeshiva advised. Patiently, our Rabbi asked him a third time, with a tone that demanded a more introspective response. Finally, the student revealed his heart's true desire. "Then do it!" Rav Tzvi Yehudah said. This was our Rabbi's way: to educate each student according to his natural direction, according to his individual talent and leaning, to encourage creativity and the free healthy development of each person's potential (see Mishlei 22:6). (Torat Eretz Yisrael – The Teachings of Ha-Rav Tzvi Yehudah Ha-Cohen Kook, pp. 205-206)