Sunday, June 24, 2007
Homogenized Yeshivishism sans devotion
(Der Alter and Talmidim, Sof Yomov)
NOTE: Some Halting of Kup may be needed here. I haven't thought this one out as much as I needed to, so the continuity here, the flow necessary to understand the writing of a guy like myself, may not be present here. VeItchem HaSlichoh.
In a way the Yeshivisher Oylem has lost its love and devotion to its Rabbeyim, but maybe they're not all to blame. Yes, we see lots of pictures of Reb Chaim K and Rav Elyashiv in the papers, and yes we see Rav Aron Shechter "dancing at the Rabinowitz-Prager wedding in Passaic," but it's all a mirage. In the old days you see pictures of giants like Reb Boruch Ber sitting on the grass or in a lawn chair and his Talmidim around him. They went with him on Datshe, and he didn't seem to mind having them there. Today no Rosh Yeshivah wants to be bothered with a bunch of Talmidim hanging around and observing his every move - and maybe rightfully so, I wouldn't want that either - and especially not when he's on vacation. far Reb Boruch Ber hut yeh gepast to sit outstretched on the grass in Druskenik or suburban Vilna without his Kapote with a Sefer in hand, but for today's sheine Roshei Yeshivah past es nit. Maybe that's why the end result, the final product of the Yeshivishe Velt if you will, is not what it used to be.
We speak about this Yeshivah and it's Shnit, and how it's been lost on today's youth, but we fail to realize that most of today's youth cannot handle what it takes to make something of yourself. Most Bochurim didn't go to Slabodka all "cut out" for that particular Yeshivah, they were good kids who wanted to learn and make something of themselves. The additional character traits that Slabodka added came later, and after much effort to internalize the teachings. Some never did internalize the shnit and just made a name for themselves throught the Torah they learned there. I would dare say that the Kletzker/Lakewooder Rosh Yeshivah wasn't a Slabodker per se' , he just happened to learn there. You can argue that point. The same would go for Rav Ruderman. The Dolhinover may be the exception of the three, with a quasi legacy of Mussar and working on Middos, but did he go there just to drink from the well of Reb Nota Hirsh Finkel? I don't believe so, but I've been wrong before.
Just to make it fair, I'll go out on a limb here, and say something that my Lubavitcher friends may not agree with. I may also be accused of being a Nifred and a Ungarisher Ferd, but so be it. I believe that in today's day and age Chabad too suffers from that devotion, although to a lesser degree. A Lubavitcher may think of himself as having a strong identity, and of being very much a Chabadnik, but often that's not the case. A Chabadnik today needs to have several things: (in no particular order) 1) a strong sense of bringing Jews closer to Yiddishkeit, 2)a strong desire and Geshmak in learning, Nigleh that is, and 3) a head for learning and understanding Chassidus Chabad. Without it he's somewhat incomplete because he cannot do his part in either learning Chassidus Chabad BeHavonoh VeHasogoh, being Eysek in Hafotzas HaYahadus, or learning Teyras Rabbey Vi es darf tzu zein. I therefore have this svoroh that not all Bnei Chasidei Chabad have what it takes to carry the torch and become Lubavitchers themselves, unless we change the curriculum in some Yeshivos, or set up Yeshivos where less time is spent on Chassidus. More on that at a later date, B'ezras Hashem.