Thursday, December 20, 2007
Lessons from ספינקא (modified)
I guess that somehow yesterday's developments in Los Angeles were brought about by my writing about them just the day before. Commenter "snag10" in yesterday's comments section called him a sc--b-g. Very nice of him to say that, I guess only those darn Chassidim do this, right? The truth is I was thinking how I should be affected by that story, and I feel that I am affected, even after all those years, since I still have some connection to them. After all Girseh DeYankusa is no small matter, and it was under those auspices that I got that Girseh, some of it that'll never leave me. Which brings me to another point; What's with the Koach HaPoel BeNif'ol? How was my Yiras Shomayim affected by that money, and was my education the equivalent of all those Mosdos in the Holy Land that are Korea LeBaal (like the Kanoyim like to say,) and is Yesudosoy BeHarrerei Not Kodesh? Can I somehow blame my lack thereof on this? There is a Vort to that effect from the Rebbe Reb Meilech zt"l, about children not turning out "Vi es darf tzu zein" because they were raised on Gegazelete Gelt. I realize this isn't Gegazelt, since it's only "evasive Gelt," but still, altz "Dina DeMalchusa Dina" it must have some kind of adverse affect, no? But I digress.
They've come a long way since I was there. When I left after Kitah Tes they were experiencing a downturn in the Mesivta, and the Yeshivah Gedola. I had already left the Cheder building so I don't quite remember what was happening on that end. Today's highly successful Kolel was getting underway, it had a few good years under its belt, but nothing like it is today, the largest (I think) Kolel in Boro Park, no small accomplishment. The Cheder happened to have a very good name when I was there, with an emphasis on instilling good Middos in students, albeit by using the stick sometimes, - OK, more than sometimes - but still, that was the idea, to raise good, well-behaved kids. They did succeed to some degree; we weren't the Vilde Chayes that kids from other Chadorim were known to be (that's me as a Spinka Cheder Yingel talking, not as a Lubavitcher) yet we were almost as "Chassidish." In camp we played Baseball - at least we tried, and we went on all kinds of trips, including "major trips" to places like Dorney Park and HersheyPark. Yet we still spoke Yiddish while playing ball (which is a good thing) and had a serious learning schedule in camp too, complete with Rebbes - the same as all year round(!), wearing Chalatlech, and close to 6 hours of learning. Then, some years later, things began to happen that signaled the end of the relatively normal and easy going days in Mosdos Spinka, they realized they weren't "frim/chassidish" enough.
You may ask: "Why do you go on about what they did in class and camp, why is this pertinent to our discussion about current events?" It's very simple, friends, it's all part of the same problem, and all are symptoms of the same disease. It's no coincidence that as soon as the supposed "frumkeit" set in so did the Dreidlach and funny business. The times coincide with the passing of Reb Yankev Yosef, so maybe that's the reason for the changes, I don't know, I was a clueless kid, really clueless. At first they discovered new dinim in Shulchan Aruch like prohibiting live music in Camp. For years we had the Stoliner Kol Rinah band (lead by Mr Klitnick on Alto Sax!) play in camp on Motzoei Shabbos Nachamu as well as the last night of camp at the banquet, then one year it was decided that we had a churban beis hamikdosh and were forbidden to dance to live music. There are many more examples, but I don't want to bore you all with details. The clientelle of the Yeshivah soon started to change as well. Gone was the Boro Park kid that had a Hungarian/Chassidishe background, and in came the "Tchoolent Tup," and the Tchoolent Tup likes things his way. At the same time all kinds of shvitzers started to work at the offices there, and as Gaboyim there, and that spelled trouble. These characters started to bring to Spinka methods they learned in other circles, and the result is the events before us today, terrible events that are destroying families.
The lessons we can learn are as follows: I believe that the root of the problem is the fact that they wanted (or at least went along with the idea brought forth by others) to build themselves a Branzhe that'll produce Sapinker Chassidim like in Di Heim, only in the old days it didn't happen through Yeshivos, people who lived in the region were Chassidim, and that's the way they stayed. The need to build a Chassidus and to have large crowds at Tishen and children's weddings caused them to discover "Frumkeit", and later to discover "Frumme" means of maintaining his Mosdos. It may seem like a stretch and coincidence to some of you, but I believe I'm correct here. I also don't believe that they were somehow forced into this situation because they had such a strong desire to educate Yiddishe Kinder no matter what the cost, and no matter the end results. Lots of other good Chadorim - like Skolye and Stutshin - who had built good names for themselves had to close down to the dismay of parents simply because they couldn't cover the budget. I'm sure they too could've discovered these new means but they chose not to, and to their credit. I guess what's the point of having a Cheder/Yeshivah if the end result is you're not around to enjoy it. Some of today's most successful groups and Chaburos do it without as much a Shul of their own, especially not a Talmud Torah, others fail to learn the lessons very clearly laid out here....