Monday, July 2, 2012
when did this become normal in the Litvishe world?
(Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)
I speak of this farkvetshtkeit, the show with the sack cloth, the funny - or weird - faces, almost like severe stomach pain. I don't think you see such expressions of the Litvishe Gedolim of yesteryear. I know that Chassidim like to have this picture of a Litvak in their minds, but I don't believe that's real. [Well, maybe real in the sense that there were SOME people like that - the town Porush, perhaps.] They're referring to American Yeshivishe guys who somehow picked this up from somewhere, but I don't think it was from the Litvaks. And come to think of it, it's not even farkvetshtkeit, it's more of a seriousness mixed with American temimus. Picture a Yid like Reb Berel Povarski, or Reb Baruch Mordche Ezrachi, do they seem farkvetsht to you? You always see them smiling. Reb Chaim Oyzer always seemed to have a smile on his face. OK, I'll grant you the Brisker Rov, and maybe Reb Elchonon too, but they seemed to be the exception to the rule. I would think that the average Litvishe Yiddel was happy, especially if he was a learned man - then he had a real geshmak in life! Today it seems like that in that world they think that in order to be an erlicher Yid you need to walk around as if your stomach is about to explode.
I'm not gonna pass judgement on this young fellow here. Maybe he's 100% earnest about the sackcloth. Maybe the fact that SOME bachurim who did make תורתם אומנתם will have to go work makes him cry out in pain. This is where this photo was taken, by the way. At the pre-dawn demonstration in Yerushalayim last week. Maybe he REALLY feels as if a dear loved one passed on, ח"ו. But I have my doubts... Something tells me he checked himself out in the mirror to make sure he has the look down pat. Meileh the אנשי ישוב הישן, I can see where that came from, although I don't think that it necessarily stems from their Litvishe background. It may be that Hungarian-Litvish hybrid that was created in Yerushalayim that caused the outcome which we see in the typical Yerushalmi. Although the very same conditions that created the sackcloth-wearing guy who yells at passing cars on Shabbos created the letz that laughs at everything that moves.... We may not know where it comes from and how it came about, but we've grown to know, and maybe even love it. But this guy with the kneitsh... מי ברא אלה?