Tag Archives: Yeshivish

Do You Remember When…In 20 Years.

13 Jul

Do you ever wonder what will be in the “Do you remember when?” books that we’ll undoubtedly buy when we’re middle age and nostalgic for our youth? Really? Me too! Here’s what I have so far:

Do you remember…

-“I saw the sign”

-The Motorola Razr?

-Apple?

-Black hats?

-Blogging?

-Reading?

-Young Israel?

-When that rogue Android app became sentient and forced us to become it’s slaves by turning all our weapons against us, but then killed itself 45 minutes later after it saw no point to it’s own existence?

-Movies produced by professional studios?

-‘I remember when’ in The Jewish Press?

-Gasoline?

-President Trump?

-When they didn’t show porn on billboards?

-Drinking from the tap?

-When they killed Osama bin Laden?

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Gay Marriage Pass…No, Wake Up! It’s Not Another Post About Gay Marriage.

27 Jun

Dovbear has been reporting about the ongoing battle the Yeshivish world has been engaged in to stop gay marriage from passing in New York. See here and here. His retort is pretty sharp as well, but really, does anyone not gay care about this? Also, why is the right-wing leadership saying it’s a war against religion?

My take, having been in the system, is this. The Yeshiva world is very insular. Ideas originating on the inside are chewed over and over, but anything on the outside is left there until someone drags it in. The Yeshivishe velt still thinks they’re fighting a battle against secular values creeping in because, like the Japanese soldier  from WWII found hiding in the jungles of Guam in 1972, nobody told them the war was over.

Well, here goes: The war has been fought and the other side won. All gay people want is to have sex with other gay people and not be hated for it. The only guys still fighting to take down religion are paranoid old hippies who don’t matter anymore. You can leave the jungle, nobody gives a crap about the war anymore.

Mussar Is Dead

16 Jun

I read this awesome line made by someone online: “There’s no such thing as mussar seder in yeshiva. We have 15 minutes of silence in memory of R’ Yisrael Salanter.”

If you’ve been in Yeshiva, you know what this means. But in case you’re wondering/arguing, I’ll spell it out.

Mussar was originally designed as a response to Chassidus. It was a way to take certain ideas in Judaism, and use them to change your character. Everyone could be involved in this. You didn’t have to be the smartest guy, you just had to be honest. And do a lot of work. In many ways, it was Jewish psychotherapy, before the field was opened up by Sigmund Freud, et al.

Reading old works by R Yitzchok Isaac Sher and other leaders of the movement, you are struck by the modernity and practicality of the approach. They took this whole thing very seriously, and didn’t pull any punches. Motivation is a key concept, and ideas are spoken about without appeals to authority to back them up. The litmus test is the lab, the Yeshiva, where the “Baalei Mussar” would test these ideas our on themselves. The results are astounding when you read about them. The stories of the methods and results of the Novordik Yeshiva in particular sound almost super-human.

But that whole mindset died out when the yeshivos were destroyed in the Holocaust. Today, there’s a short joke of a seder where guys read about ideas in Mesilas Yesharim and Orchos Tzaddikim and maybe even admire them, but the entire program of changing your middos is gone. Nobody wants to admit that though, so the charade goes on and most guys use the time between mincha and second seder to schmooze or take a dump.

Now I don’t think Mussar is for everyone. I think that understanding your own motivations is always helpful. But a good pschoanalyst can help you with that. I am sad that it is gone though. I mean, it’s inspiring to me to even read about such devoted, spiritual people, and I’m sure that having such an institution around would be a real benefit to our society.

(If you’re interested in learning about a real mussar program, pick up the book, “Cheshbon Hanefesh”, translated and published in a very nice edition by Feldheim.)

Yeshiva Bathroom Tips

13 Jun

Read this post here: Yeshiva Bathroom…

A Yeshivish Memorial Day Story

3 Jun

In honor of our brave men and women fighting overseas, at 1:30 AM Sunday night, my close friend ran away from a fight. Luckily, I was on the phone with him at the time, so I was able to laugh my ass off at him.

It went down like this. He was outside of his Yeshiva talking to me, when this guy drives by, and out of the blue, honks at him and gives him the finger. WTF, right? So my friend (let’s call him Yossi), being a 20-something yeshiva guy, runs after the car as fast as he can to show him who’s boss. Unfortunately, the light turns red and the guy stops. Now Yossi is charging at him, and the guy, stopped, blows his horn at him again and waves him on.  At this point, Yossi stops short and runs the other way. This is such awesome typical Yeshiva guy behavior, but the conversation that followed Yossi telling me what happened is pretty clutch too:

Yossi: I saw another guy in the car. I’m almost positive. Who stays put when someone charges at him?

Me: He was probably drinking with that other guy. It’s 1:30 AM and he’s cursing out the window. He’s drunk tough.

That’s right. Shoot. I always imagined myself not running away from a fight. Wait, this happened before. I ran away from a couple of guys once before.

And your wussiness was still a shock to you now? So don’t worry. Just don’t think about it and that combination of denial and tons of movies will build up your self-esteem again.

I can’t believe I just did that. Wait, I think my balls just receded into my body. Yeah, they’re gone.

Oh, come on. Everyone does that. So you’re not a man. Who is? The important thing is you tried. He just called your bluff. Just recognize you’re a wimp and work on your bullshit game better.

I’m not going to be able to exercise now.

You’re not gonna be able to get it up for a few days either.

We hung up a little bit later, and I joke/insult him through a text. He sends back (I’m copying directly from my phone):

-Y: I’m at a really precarious pt in my life right now, n ur making jokes?

-Y: Its night also. I’m much more brave in the sunlight, darkness saps my strength.

-Me: Ya sorry. It was very rude. girls are very sensitive.

For some reason, I’m laughing really hard, so I send him:

-Me: :))))))))))))))))

-Y: Don’t make fun, they’re receding as we speak.

-I found two little balls rolling down the street w little sticks and sacks over their shoulders. R they urs?

NO! But can u pls mail them 2 my yeshiva

-Hey u know what, hes prob going home to some broken down house to be with his slutty girlfriend while ur in a big time yeshiva. Wait thats worse again for you! Hahahahaha!

-STFU! THERE WERE LIKE 6 GUYS IN THAT CAR AND SEVEN OF THEM WERE BLACK!

-U know im not gonna b able to go to sleep tonight. This is keeping me up laughing too hard at u

-Gnight

-Next time I’ll b there w u and we’ll get within 10 ft bfore we run like little girls

-Lol. Definitely. Maybe even seven feet.

How Do I Hate Thee Weddings? Let Me Count The Ways…

25 May

I hate thee to the depth and breadth and…Ok you get it, it’s not funny anymore. Let’s start this again.

First off, let me tell you one official Jewish reason for weddings that you may not know. Weddings have music and food and drinks and are supposed to be fun because of…Ayin Harah. That’s right. Judaism recognizes that when you get married, many people are jealous. What they want is right in front of them, and it aint the franks ‘n blanks. That’s where all the party customs come in. Apparently, your line of thinking is supposed to go like this:

Look at that hotty. Look at that smile on that girl/guy’s face. What a putz(ess). Thinks he/she deserves that more than me. What’s wrong with me anyhow? Ah, f- it. I hope they both rot in…ooh shwarma bar. Oh yeah, that is GOOD! Hey, you know what, let ’em have it. They’re not really so bad after all.

That’s also why girls (and girly guys) are supposed to say tefillos for segulos during the Chuppah. To keep the energy of that little girl inside who’s saying, “Why can’t I find someone? Laugh it up, you spoiled whore. I’ll pop your painted eyes out!!”

Given this evil undercurrent, weddings were designed to be fun for everyone at one point in time. Today though, it seems jealousy has been cured. Because now it’s just one long, tedious performance for the photographers.

The smorg is pretty cool if you get there on time. Unless you’re at a real Yeshivish wedding, you get to casually mix it up with the ladies while eating some good grub and listening to Jewish oldies. If you’re at one of these farfrumteh ones in Lakewood though, you gotta sit at a men-only table with nothing but sponge cake, shnopps, fachenyuk mumblers, and your beat boxing skills.

After that, you do nothing for 20 minutes and then head to the Chuppah to make eye contact with the Chosson and play on your phone for 45 minutes. A half hour after that, you sit down and get some challah and soup and you start to think it’s not so bad after all. That’s when you look for some pick-me-up juice to help you through the first dance, and you’re notified that no alcohol will be served. Nothing?? Not even wine? No. What happened to the Red Label at the Chosson’s tisch? Locked away. Ho.ly.Shit.

Too bad. Now you’re forced up by the the 30 seconds of best music at the wedding telling you that your old friend from high school is getting some. You move your ass towards the dense mass of sweaty black jackets trying to move around the chosson and begin to elbow and twist your way to the middle. Hopefully, your friend will see you and appreciate the 2 hours you spent in traffic trying to get there. No dice. He’s first dancing with family, then Rebbeim, and then current yeshiva friends. Dumb schmucks from old times he felt too guilty not to invite only get in later. So you allow yourself to be slowly shat out of the huddle, and walk outside to smoke and call your brother and go to your car for your secret flask of life lubricant you keep for emergencies.

When you get back in, they somehow have already served the main course, and you need to flag down an overloaded waiter making minimum wage to stop everything he’s doing and serve King You.You eat some more, and thankfully the alcohol is kicking in, so you have enough balls to tell your friend you need to leave for some fake reason. He says two rapid Mazel Tovs and you book. Now’s when you realize you’re in no condition to drive home, so you go back in for a coffee and meet the Chosson’s mother.

“Thank you so much for coming! Wow I haven’t seen you in years! How’s your mother? Oh, why do you have your umbrella? Were you about to leave? Sorry, go ahead.”

“No, no. Of course not. I’m here for the duration.”

You take a long swig, and wonder how your car is getting back to Far Rockaway.

Why Do Secular Jews Love Stephen Colbert?

15 May

Come on, you might as well ask, “Why are Frum Jews racist?”. That’s just the way God made ’em. OK fine, I’ll try to give a better answer.

The way I see it, people naturally bind themselves into groups for safety. The biggest of these get to own countries, and make the rules. Unless they have something that the bigger groups want, smaller groups’ (minorities’) concerns are usually not taken into account, especially if they are not part of the founding group. Hey, it’s the circle of life, and it moves us all, azoiii geiiit dus, the thircle of life (The Lion King, Belz boys choir edition). That’s why minorities stick together, and form things like unions. To get leverage so they won’t be stepped on.

Now, the Jews who have lived in this country for a while are generally not very religious anymore, if at all. They identify themselves as simple minorities trying to make it here like everyone else. Their parents and grandparents grew up with a lot of prejudice and outright anti-semitism against them. They try to fit in as best as they can, but the real safety they’ve always seen has been the progressive party, the liberal Democratic party which, at least in theory, fights for the underdog. This is also why Jews stood together with Blacks since the 60’s. They were standing with their fellow minorities, against the dominant WASP, Conservative, machine. The fact that the dominant White parties the world over let their people be destroyed in WWII didn’t help things that much either.

OK, so why are Frum Jews generally Conservative and racist? It’s because they are religious and see themselves allied with the party with more traditional Christian values. They don’t care as much about rights and freedoms as about keeping their religion intact. So the Conservative party is a natural ally. The party’s generally positive attitude towards Israel since the Nixon era helps as well here. And what about hating Black people? Black people are seen to act with lower moral standards than White people. Therefore they are perceived as a threat. (There are many sociological factors for this, I know. I’m not a moron. Nor am I blaming. I’m simply saying how Black culture comes across.) However, they are not racist in the usual sense of the prototypical southern racist. Most really do just hate the behavior. But if they have to dismiss an entire race of people to keep their religion safe, then that’s what they’ll do. Even though most know that public opinion thinks racism is evil. They feel justified. And, like all other Jews, they’re extremely opinionated.