Tag Archives: davening

All Yekkis Are the Old Men I Knew As A Kid

9 Nov

yek german synogogue old

“AK” sent me this picture he took at a yekki shul he visited. “There were no other shul-like signs on the board. No no-cellphone picture with the no-smoking sign. This is top priority at the shul.”

I know there’s a rich history to German Judaism, and I’ve read some top-shelf R’ Shamshon R. Hirsch and R’ Breuer stuff, but to me, this picture epitomizes the word “Yekke”. I imagine they have a couple of guys, or kids, who come in late and have the chutzpou to alzo move zeir chairs! The head old man -balding but immaculately clipped white hair, pressed slacks belted over his belly button- is singing along to some horrible tune when his mouth suddenly twitches. Comink late to shuhl. Then the chair squeeeks. A vein explodes in his head. Ahhh! Zose idiots! I’m trying to daven! After davening, i vill make eh zign unt LAMENATE IT!, and zen finally people vill listen to ze rules! Ah, beautiful, beautiful rules. Mein leiber.

I haven’t done any studies, but I think it’s safe to say all Yekkes fit this exact description, agreed?


How To Be Single And Happy

7 Jul

Sometimes I look at my married friends and start feeling bad that I’m single. Does that ever happen to you? Well, the best way I’ve found to get over that is to do what my mother told me a long time ago and count my blessings. Truthfully, that advice didn’t help me at all for a long, long time. Then I realized that what she  really meant was, “Find ways that you’re better than other people”. So without further ado, I present to you my list of things to feel better about:

-Disposable income. That’s right, you kid-laden fools. I have so much money, I need to dispose of some of it. Is that the Ipad 2? I think I’ll get it and dump this perfectly good ipad 1. Whoa, is that me out there? Cause it looks like I’m shmoozing out the window of my car while it’s still running. And what are all these extra 20’s doing clogging up my pocket? I think I’ll go burn them in front of the Yeshiva tuition board.

-Sleeping in. If I don’t feel like going to shul today, I won’t. Nobody’ll make me feel guilty, say mean things, or suddenly not be in mood (see also next).

-Porn. Yeah, you may be having sex with a real person you may or may not be in a loving relationship with, but I get to experience the great wide world of porn. Is plain old porn not exciting anymore? Let me try something with whips and leather. Ok, that was disturbing. What’s this Japanese cartoon thing that just popped up? Can that really go there?

The point I’m making is that you don’t have to judge yourself by other people’s benchmarks. You can make up your own, and judge other people by them.

My Judaism, or Hevel Havalim.

17 May

After I caught myself kissing my Tefillin absentmindedly this morning, I started to wonder how many things I do that have no meaning at all the way I do them. Here’s my list:

-Everything to do with davening, brachos, etc. This is all a waste of mine and God’s time.

-Learning. Resentment and being uplifted don’t seem to be very compatible.

-Trying to better myself. I do this because I got confused early on with low self-esteem and working on my middos.

-Doing chessed. I don’t think I have that much real feeling towards people I deem ‘inferior’. I’m nice because I think God is watching and marking me down for extra credit.

Now, I know it’s impolite to admit these things in public, and they’re probably more evidence of a pessimistic view of life than anything else, but the odd thing is I’m really following “Fear God and keep his mitzvos, for this is all of man”. I’m assuming Shlomo wasn’t just a bitter old curmudgeon. Yet he says again, in Koheles 7:13-18-

13 Consider the work of God; for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked?

14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God hath made even the one as well as the other, to the end that man should find nothing after him.

15 All things have I seen in the days of my vanity; there is a righteous man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his evil-doing.

16 Be not righteous overmuch; neither make thyself overwise; why shouldest thou destroy thyself?

17 Be not overmuch wicked, neither be thou foolish; why shouldest thou die before thy time?

18 It is good that thou shouldest take hold of the one; yea, also from the other withdraw not thy hand; for he that feareth God shall discharge himself of them all.

Basically, God is in charge and He’s gonna do whatever He wants. Don’t kill yourself to try to do what He wants, because you’ll end up wasting your life and not get anything in return. Just make sure not to piss Hashem off, and you’ll do fine.

Whoa, is that how it’s supposed to be? That’s not what they taught me in Cheder. But actually, the Chumash seems to also pay a much higher premium for fear of God than love. What do the modern, positive, hashkafos do with all this? I’ve seen highly regarded, Yeshivish approved modern seforim that seem to me to twist the Chumash out of the pashut pshat. (For example, when the pasuk says that the Jews at the Yam Suf first feared God and only then trusted in Him and Moshe, a certain sefer says that this fear was actually a result of a love that came first at some unmentioned time before. It was a ‘higher’ fear, meaning a fear of losing the special relationship. This is a huge dochek pshat, imo.)

I happen to think there was a shift at some point, to stressing a love-based relationship over a fear-based one. Even though I’m intellectualizing this emotion-based problem, I’m still curious to get to the bottom of this.

Drinking on Purim

8 May

(Originally posted on Frumsatire)

You might not know this, but the holiday of Purim is traditionally a good day for davening. This is because the salvation that came about only happened after the Jews got together and prayed.

Now, many people have come out against yeshiva bochurim drinking on Purim. These people are a modern reincarnation of Haman. They are trying to destroy the two most important Purim customs, drinking and prayer. As a former Yeshiva bochur, I know that being drunk on Purim is a purely spiritual experience. When else do you get such heartfelt prayers as these?

“Owowow. My head! Oh my God, I think I’m gonna die.”

“Lord, I’m in your hands. Please guide my car on the straight path. Let me not swerve left nor right from it. And deliver me not into the hands of that evil cop.”

“Hashem, make sure my Rebbe doesn’t see me peeing on his car.”

“If you let me just throw up now, I’ll do whatever you want. Seriously. I won’t jerk off for a week. Ow! Ok two weeks.”

So moving! It’s like witnessing a modern book of Tehillim in the making. May the mouths of the evil ones be silenced so that this holy custom shall never cease from Israel.