The Baal Shem Tov loved light. On one occasion his disciples expected him to arrive, but to their dismay they could locate only a few candles with which to light the room for their master. Upon entering, the Baal Shem Tov said, “A Jewish home should be suffused with light. This is my life’s calling — to cast light into the lives of Jews.” When his disciples replied that they had gone to numerous houses asking for candles and this was all they could obtain, the Baal Shem Tov was resolute: “Go outside and gather the icicles that hang from the roof. Light them instead of candles.” The disciples complied and placed the icicles vertically upright around the room. When the icicles were ignited, a miracle occurred: in the Baal Shem Tov’s environment they burned like wax, filling the Beis Hamidrash with dazzling light.

The students of the Baal Shem Tov were giants in their own right, yet they didn’t see the potential in these icicles. However, the Baal Shem Tov recognized that initial impressions can be extremely misleading: that there was tremendous warmth and beauty inside the ice, just waiting to be unleashed.

When the Rebbe Rasha”b established his Yeshiva 118 years ago, he called all of its present and future students "sparks of light" – neiros leha’ir, candles to illuminate – and yes, these are the precious students at ULYOP. 

However, candles come in all forms and shapes. Some light up and shine brightly immediately as soon as fire comes near; others take time before the flame takes a firm hold of the wick. Yet once that happens, those shine as brightly and strongly as all the rest.

The melamdim and staff of ULYOP understand this, and therefore they give space to each individual student to grow and develop at his own unique pace. Our devoted staff members use their expertise to take in even the students whom other yeshivos consider too time-consuming to deal with. We are willing to spend that extra time, to stand them upright with tender care, kindling and fanning their flames until they, too, illuminate their surroundings with brilliant light. So while our yeshiva may be a bus ride away from home, and not a block away, it’s the school parents can count on to put a genuine love of Torah in their sons’ hearts and a bright sparkle in their eyes.

In honor of the Hakhel Year, we invite you to partner with us and sponsor the education of a priceless Jewish boy, enabling him to become a light that will continue shedding its splendid radiance wherever Divine Providence may take him. Your generous support enables us to provide an unsurpassed chinuch to our students, an education that enables them to grow into proud, strong Jews, rabbinic and lay leaders. These children will join the thousands of ULYOP alumni who sparkle in every corner of the globe, illuminating the world with Torah, goodness and kindness. The merit of your contribution will illuminate your own life while it brightens the future of the Jewish people and the world as a whole.