In medieval times throughout Europe, in many of its capitals, they would have contests to prove one’s exceptional strength and endurance.

If one could meet the challenge he would win a purse of gold. One of the daunting feats presented was an  enormously tall ladder that contained a thousand rungs. If one was able to reach the thousandth rung he would win the Grand Prize. There was, however, a precondition: Before  ascending the ladder one would don a belt with an enormous metal buckle. No one could understand why this was a precondition before the climb. Throughout the years no one succeeded to tackle this challenge.

There was a young man who aspired all his life to meet this challenge – even if it meant falling to his death. The young man approached the ladder with trepidation wearing the belt with the iron buckle.

Though  not able to see the top of the ladder because of its exceptional height, he begins the ascent.  As he reaches the 147th rung,  the ladder begins to sway in the wind and as he feels his strength is ebbing, he is about to lose his grip. With the greatest of effort he manages to secure his hold and  forges upward to the next rung. It would seem this is an exercise in futility knowing the daunting task ahead is  to reach rung one thousand. He pays no attention to that fact.

Suddenly, as he enters into the proximity of the next rung he feels a mighty  magnetic pull drawing him up to rung ONE thousand!


The Alter Of Kelm explains this is in fact the Divine assistance

one receives when one applies himself to study Torah.

The human intellect does not have the capacity to come upon the truth

of Torah without Divine assistance.

The allegory’ is profound and  analogous to the student returning from his studies in Israel.

This special core of young men, set off to  Yeshiva  in Israel-intent on experiencing an orientation and enrichment of their Heritage. They anticipated they would be immersed and successful  in acquiring the fundamental skills and rudiments of Torah knowledge before returning to the States for  their undergraduate and graduate university education. They believe themselves ready to begin their trajectory through their university years and beyond – and remain as fully engaged in their Torah lives. That is not the reality.

Get in touch