The Previous Rebbe writes:
Lessons:There were many good qualities and upright character traits in the love of Torah, in the dearness for holiness, in the fear of Heaven and enthusiasm for observance of Mitzvos that the Yeshivah students of the two past generations brought into the homes of our Jewish brothers.
Di teg [Yiddish for “the days”]—the meals in which the Yeshivah students would eat in the homes of the wealthy, the middle-class, and even the poor, which the Yeshivah students would call di teg, were the bridge that bound and connected Jewish homes with the house of Torah study.
The days known as di teg acted as beacons of the light of Torah and Mitzvos, shining a clear, luminous light of aspiration for wisdom and knowledge, inspiring the hearts of the young to bring the spiritual to dominate over the physical, and to exile themselves to a place of Torah. ...
I still remember the way the Yeshivah students inspired me to devote myself to my studies, to pray slowly, to recite the grace after meals and the other blessings carefully, to be particular to recite the morning blessings and the bedtime recital of the Shema.
The students’ visits in Jewish homes left impressions of a pleasant light, of fiery, inextinguishable flames of the love for Torah and the dearness of the holy, to be attained through caution to perform the Mitzvos. They sowed in the hearts of the boys and girls seeds of yearning to toil in the Torah and to build Jewish homes on the foundations of Torah.
In this good quality the country of Lithuania excelled. Thank G–d, one can still recognize the good impressions that were engraved in the hearts of our brothers in Lithuania in terms of the love of Torah and the important position that Torah scholars hold, thank G–d.
When I visited one of the villages in Lithuania last year, in a place where people gathered from the outlying areas, how great was my pleasure to see the yearning for Torah scholars and to build Jewish homes of Torah scholars.
Of the hundreds of people who visited me and of the hundreds of letters from parents, most of them asked for advice in how to set up their lifestyle and how to arrange, with G-d's help, appropriate matches for their offspring. There was thank G–d a large percentage—may they increase further—who desired and blessed themselves that their children should be Yeshivah students and that their daughters should may Torah scholars. However, what astounded me, and brought me a spiritual pleasure and ecstasy of heart, were the letters of the youth related to arranging matches, for they recognized the greatness of Yeshivah students.
“ Yeshivah bochrim” (unmarried students at a Rabbinical academy) are sometimes looked down upon by “baalei batim” (older, married people). “What do they have to teach me?” they ask. “What do they know already? A few comments of Tosfos? How much life experience have they had? And what have they accomplished? In contrast, I have a family, a house, an income. Instead of learning from them, since I’m older, I will teach them from my experience.”
However, the truth is the exact opposite.
The Hebrew word for world, olam, is etymologically related to the word he’elem, concealment of G–dliness (Likkutei Torah, Shelach, 37d). The more a person is involved in the world, the more difficult it is for him to sense holiness, to relate to Hashem. Like it or not, he has unwittingly absorbed a certain amount of hanachos ha’olam, secular attitudes that are foreign to Torah. A Yeshivah bochur, however, who is totally focused on Torah study and prayer, is not tainted by the world and can thus be truly receptive to holiness.
Thus, instead of the community regarding the Yeshivah bochur as second-class to them, they should regard themselves as second-class to him. Only then will they be fit vessels to learn from the shining example that the Yeshivah bochur sets, and instead of dismissing him as simple and naïve, revering him as pure and sincere.
When the parents show the greatest honor and adoration for Yeshivah bochrim (and by the same token, for members of Kollel and Rabbonim) the sons and daughters in the home will become sensitive to holiness, and thus come to hold Torah scholars in the highest regard, sensing the pricelessness of Torah. The yearning for Torah will be the deepest yearning of their hearts, one that will determine whom they choose to marry and how they choose to live their lives and invest their money and efforts. The boys will aspire to devote themselves to be talmidei chachomim, Torah scholars, or at least to learn regularly and support full-time talmidei chachomim, and the girls will aspire to the privilege of marrying a Torah scholar and building homes permeated with the love of Torah, in which those who devote their lives to Torah study with fear of G–d are accorded the greatest honor. Their children will then pass on this pure and holy passion for Torah faithfully to their own children, creating a very happy cycle that will act as a beacon of inspiration for the entire community.
However, if the community looks down on the Torah scholars and treats them as second-class, G–d forbid, not only will they not learn from the Torah scholars, but they will exert a bad influence on them. The Torah scholars will be less supported by the members of the community, making it more difficult for them to study Torah, thus creating a very vicious cycle that will degrade the community.
Let us promote the former attitude, and we will be blessed.