Ready to spend three hours with someone you’ve never met, trying to keep a conversation going the whole time? No, not a blind date or Shidduch date – it’s your new Chavrusa! Often, a Talmid’s year in Yeshiva starts with a random Chavrusa. Not only someone he’s never learned with, but likely someone he’s never even spoken to! If he gets incredibly lucky, it’ll be a good match, but most of the time the zman begins with a healthy amount of Chavrusa-switching until everyone finds someone they mesh well with. Is there a way to know when it’s time to have that awkward conversation, time to move on?
One good indicator is if you’re dreading the start of Seder. Even if you haven’t pinpointed your Chavrusa as the issue, a probable cause of not looking forward to the limmud is not looking forward to who you’re doing the limmud with. Ask yourself, if I was learning with Ploni (fill in a name), would I be more excited for this slot? If the answer is yes, it’s time to switch.
Another test is if you find yourself consistently finishing the seder upset, angry, or down. Again, it’s not definite that the Chavrusa is the issue, but it’s worth asking the same question: Would I be feeling this way if I was learning with Ploni? Again, if the answer is yes, it’s time to switch.
You might have a Chavrusa which generally goes well, but you’ve noticed a specific issue. Maybe you’re quicker than your Chavrusa and sometimes have to re-explain the Sugya to him. Maybe your Chavrusa is usually consistent, but has spells where he’ll show up late for a week, or often gets sick and misses Seder. This situation is a middle ground; you don’t definitely want out, but you do want to keep your ears open for other opportunities. You can talk to your Shiur Rebbe, Sho’el U’Meishiv, or Shiur Assistant to see if they know of anyone else looking for a new Chavrusa. If they have someone for you that you think would be a better fit, thank your Chavrusa for a great zman so far and switch. If no one is available, it’s generally more productive to stick with a mediocre Chavrusa than to go solo.Return to Blog