Sunday, May 24, 2009
I felt Golus
It's not easy feeling Golus in America. I mean New York. The Tri-state area. Monsey Ir HaTorah. You look around and you say such a breitkeit, even in today's tough economic times. Masses of frum Jews going about their business BeKomah Zekufah, not worried about the gentiles. School boards stacked with Jews. Politicians eating out of the palms of our hands. Streets closed because of Hachnosas Sefer Torah, parade, Lag BaOmer bonfire or bagleiten a visiting Gutter Yid. Daily garbage pickup in the weeks before Pesach. You get the picture. Things have changed drastically since the 60's. Speech is watched carefully when it comes to making generalizations about ethnic and Religious groups. Only in radical underground publications will you hear anything about "Jews" controlling etc. So we sit here and we think we manage to re-educate the masses about Jews, despite thousands of years of education, being spoon-fed anti-Semitism with breakfast in many cases.
For some reason the following incident sticks in my mind, maybe because the statement was made by a fellow Yid, a Rosh Yeshivah or Kolel, and a grandson of a good Jew. They said then that Rav Lazer Ginzberg, Mirrer Rosh Kolel in Brooklyn and grandson of Reb Chatzkel Levenshteyn said during the CH riots that the happenings there were a "reminder to the Lubavitchers that we're still in Golus." "They're starting to talk about Moshiach, Hineh Hineh Moshiach Bo, G-d showed them he's in charge!" This typical Litwaukee speak is meant to show the world that G-d is an angry old man who like to show his disobedient kids that he's still in charge. It somehow connects them to the fire and brimstone-throwing preachers' speeches of generations ago by talking like that, I guess. I've heard that kind of talk quite often, especially when reprimanding Lubavitch for saying Ad Mosai etc. "Who are we to tell G-d what and when to do things?!" (That is until they need a yeshuah or refuah, then any talk is OK.)
What happened to me on Friday was somewhat of a different Golus experience. It was the kind of experience that reminded me that it's time to ask for Moshiach again, but not because graffiti was scrawled on my shul or anything like that. It was the "cat got my tongue" kind of thing. Here I was, being talked down to in the supermarket in the worst way by Haitian trash with six inch nails and I could say nothing. Technically I could, but the eternal Jew in me would not allow it. I guess I couldn't stand there and yell obscenities at the woman; and making a whole tumult was also out of the question. So I was left just trying to defend myself instead, with her giving me the hand, saying "uh-uh, don't talk to me." Here's this woman, who only one generation ago was eating papaya three times a day, who's hairdo and manicure costs more than her entire wardrobe accusing me and yakking at me in a public place, and I CAN DO JUST ABOUT NOTHING IN RETURN. היש גלות
מעשה שהי' כך הי-ה: I needed to do some last minute shopping before Shabbos Kodesh. (I'll try not to bore you with the details.) I loaded the cart and was checking out - not before having said a few bucks by using my Pathmark card - when Mrs. Tzig calls. She needs mushrooms, she says. Always the willing and able husband, I walk to the car, load the bags with the original purchases, and went back for the mushrooms. Once there, a pineapple was added to the purchase, not that it has any relevance to the story. I approached the checkout counters and chose one that had only one customer ahead of me. Soon after that several people came in to that aisle behind me. One of them - unbeknown to me - was a testy Haitian of the female variety who I guess was having a bad hair day or something, because she was tired of holding a few cups of yogurt in her hands and I was too far back from the customer ahead of me for her to put her things down on the whatchamacallit. So, I'm standing there patiently waiting for the guy ahead of me to finish checking out when I hear "Mister!" "MISTER!" behind me, in a very loud voice. Not thinking that I'd be referred to as such, and maybe daydreaming a bit, I ignored the call, not thinking it was me they were talking to.
Then I feel a jab in my back. The ----- had poked me. I turn around to see what that was and she yells at me to move ahead so she can put her yogurts down on the table. Then she tells the person she's talking to on the cellphone "then they wonder why nobody wants to see them around anymore!" I try nicely to tell her "you think I was ignoring you? I didn't hear you!" so she tells her phone buddy: "He says he was ignoring me!!!" By then I realized that there was nobody to talk to. I was part of the white world she so hates and the Jewish one she can't stand. She wishes we'd all be shipped off in boxcars somewhere far away. I realize some of you may think that in the greater scheme of things this incident means nothing, but it was Golus for me. I hadn't had many such run-ins, it was usually not face to face, just a passing car or something like that. But to be tongue-tied, to be so utterly helpless in a town chock full of Heimishes, is nothing short of a G-d imposed Golus. May we have no more such experiences.