Monsey Memories: Rav Yeshaya Dovid Bayer
Rav Yeshaya Dovid Bayer occupies a special place in the annals of Monsey history, having served as a mechanech in Yeshiva Bais Dovid for decades. Rav Bayer was a man who was committed to chinuch with all his heart and soul for almost half a century.
He joined Bais Dovid as a melamed almost from its inception. Later on, he was asked to serve as Menahel of the growing cheder, a position he filled for over 40 years. “Rabbi Bayer”, as his students knew him, was there all day, every day. His daily routine in Bais Dovid started even before the Shachris minyan for the older boys. At seven a.m. he was already there learning with a chavrusa with such geshmak—the sight of them learning leaving an indelible mark on talmidim; teaching them the chashivus of hashkama and hasmadah.
He would then proceed to run all facets of the entire older division for the day. While Reb Mottel would come around to farher the older grades, Reb Shaya Dovid would come to the middle grades and test them on Chumash and Rashi. His emphasis on, and constant testing of Chumash-Rashi paid off; he would always say that Bais Dovid alumni worldwide are renowned for their fluency in Chumash-Rashi.
If there was ever a one-of-a-kind menahel, it was Reb Shaya Duvid Bayer z"l. Being at the helm of Bais Dovid, in and of itself, is already an amazing feat. Bais Dovid was, and continues to be, a "melting pot" for children from all types of families, who come to cheider with the common goal of becoming yirei shamayim and ehrliche yidden.
To lead such a cheider with an equal amount of respect for each and every sect of Yidden, stressing the good points of each community without alienating another was something that Rabbi Bayer excelled in. In addition, Bais Dovid was established as a talmud Torah where children would be educated in Torah and yiras shamayim of old and learn how to resist the temptations of the street throughout life.
“Who can forget the days when we said slichos in yeshiva?” recalls a talmid. “His unforgettable cry of "Shema Koleinee" still rings in my ears to this day.”
A talmid related that he was in 6th or 7th grade, and he still had a childhood habit that he just could not get rid of. Someone told Rabbi Bayer, and the child was summoned to the office. After the famous "COME IN!!" Rabbi Bayer softly told him: we will work together on this. I will help you get rid of this habit and fast. Sure enough, within two weeks, the habit was gone forever.
Numerous stories abound of Rav Shaya Duvid’s sensitivity and love for his talmidim, which continued for their entire lives. He is a mechanech that remains a legend in the hearts of countless Monsey alumni.
Special thanks to Rabbi Aaron Houseman, formerly of Monsey, for his contribution to this article