Thursday, July 9, 2009
In our last discussion about the young Tzig's life we discussed how he became very disenfranchised with the new tone that he saw in Spinka. Times were changing and so were the people he was to share the Beis Medrish with. So he moved on to a more neutral yeshivah, where he thought he could settle in for years of serious learning. Also at that time; since he was growing older, the Tzig began to realize that the current approach to serving G-d, the one he was seeing amongst his peers, was not one that "spoke to him," and he began to explore other avenues. Please read Part III, linked to above, for a refresher.
This is not an attack on the personnel at Spinka, nor do I blame anybody in particular for the changes; that's just the way it happened there. Nobody owed me anything. There was no need for them to adapt to me. The clientele changed there just like in many other Yeshivos. Places like Munkacs, Vien, Ch'san Sofer, and even Yagdil Torah, where the Poylishe/Flatbush Gerrer was not as welcome anymore, underwent similar changes. The Chassidim moved in and the "Pareve" left in droves. The whole frum world shifted heavily to the right, and I felt very uncomfortable with some of the changes; it made me feel very much out of sorts. There often is that sense among children that the Yeshivos they attend are "MORE" than what they are. Among children and their parents, that is. Meaning, they feel as if the school is way too frum for them, or a bit too frum, but they attend the school so that the watered down version is still above what they would do on their own. Let me explain this in layman's terms, so that even the daftest among us can understand this:
Let's say you have a boy who goes to a Mesivta where he must wear white shirts. This bachur comes from a family where white shirts are not the norm. His father doesn't wear them during the week, he wears non-white shirts on Sundays and during the summer, and sometimes when he comes from school he'll go and change. That doesn't mean that he's not a good, frum bachur, it's just that he doesn't think that he needs to be in white shirt all the time. Now, let's say this bachur, who really does everything he needs to, was told by the Hanholoh that if they ever caught him not wearing a white shirt that they would throw him out of the Yeshivah, what do you think he would do? He may follow the rules to begin with, but ultimately he may begin to look for another Yeshivah. This was not the case with me, necessarily, but the point is the same. When the changes come to a school you attend, and you're just not comfortable with them, and you don't see yourself making all those changes, then you KNOW it's time to move on. If I'm repeating myself here, or if I made those points last time, I apologize.
So, where does a kid from Boro Park, Chasidish Geshtimt but with no true allegiance to any particular group, never wore a tie but no bekishe either, spoke Yiddish mostly, but could read and speak English with the best of them go? To another Yeshivah of a dying breed, of course! Yeshivah Ch'san Sofer in Boro Park, a jump, hop and a skip from home. There too the old Oberlandishe type was almost on his way out, but there were still enough there, and there were also guys who considered themselves full-fledged Yeshivish too. This was something I was really never exposed to; serious learners who spoke English, wore casual clothes in the summer and played sports mit a geshmak, basketball too! Here I was the Chassidishe one whereas before I was the less Chassidish one because I wore a short jacket, albeit one bought at a Chassidishe (like G&G Clothing) store. This was Mesivta; in the "Beis Medrish" most of the bachurim were far more Chassidish, since the old type of bachur had long since left YCS. That's where the decline of Chasam/Ch'san Sofer heritage was really felt. Yes, the Rov was still at the helm, but they had long since switched to Nusach Sefard, and a hard right turn had been made several years before. Not like Nitra, but hard right nevertheless.
More later, iy"H. ( I promise not to make you wait very long this time.)