Sunday, February 17, 2008
פרום אויף יענעמ'ס חשבון
Not everything is how it seems. I recently had the good fortune to meet a whole new group of people and to spend considerable time with them. Once you get to know them, things you think you think you know from afar are not what they seem. Which reminds me of a story, Takeh from my days soon after Spinka, when at a family Simchah I met one of the Satmarer Bochurim I was once so uncomfortable being around. He asked me what I was up to, and the discussion soon got to Lubavitch. He was dismayed - to say the least - about my being interested in Lubavitch, and tried to "educate" me as to the terrible deeds that Lubavitch does. The one example that I remember is the fact that Lubavitch makes public Sedorim which causes people to be Mechalel Yom Tov. They also often make only one seder, which causes people to think that there's only day Yom Tov and Seder. Hence, Lubavitch is like Reform.... I chalk part of his idea up to the fact that he was still young then, and had no idea what he was saying; but also to the fact that he had a good ol' fashioned Williamsburg education.
Anyway; years later I met him at a family Simchah, and boy, was I surprised how he had changed! It seems like he had since gotten married and gone abroad to a South American country to join a local Kolel. There this Williamsburger Yingel had seen Lubavitch in action and the whole communities they had set up from scratch. When he found out I was still interested in Lubavitch he let me know how impressed he was with Lubavitch and what a good choice I had made. Seven Years of seeing this had done a number on him, and although it didn't change his way of life (not that it necessarily needed to) it did change what he thought about others. The same can be said for a Lubavitcher who was visited by the Satmarer Bikur Cholim while languishing in a hospital; he too can see that if he hated Satmar for some reason there was reason no more for that. This can also be said regarding a non-Chossid who was the beneficiary of the kindness of a Lubavitcher somewhere while being stuck for Shabbos on the road to his favorite vacation spot. In short, once we meet those we thought were our adversaries we can see how alike we really are, and how we really CAN get along.
If only it were that easy. Last week, after a long 15 hour day, I dropped into a seat on the Monsey Bus, hoping to relax for the duration of the ride from Brooklyn. Along came a Yeshivisher Bochur with a short haircut, thick, bushy Peyos, and no beard - he shaves. (I never understood that look, but that's for another time.) Now, you need to understand, that although there are Minyonim on certain Monsey buses there is no Minyan usually on a bus from Brooklyn 3 hours after Zman Maariv. This kid was new to the bus so he didn't know, so I can't blame him for trying to put together a minyan. After asking (bothering rather) every male on the bus he came back to his seat and announced that he had only four, so I figured at least I'd have some peace and quiet. But, no! Yeruchem (let's call him that) decided that he's gonna daven BeYechidus right then and there, no matter if he could just as easily daven at his final destination when he gets there, well before Chatzos. Not only that, but he began to daven out loud, making all kinds of weird, unwordly noises. There was the fake Cheysh (Reysh) that Yeshivishers do, but that's not all of it. Mr. Frummie also had decided that he needed to add the Arabic-sounding Ayin to his repertoire so that G-d could really understand what he was saying, so Nishba in Krias Shma was "Nishbaaak" and so on in the rest of davening. Needless to say it was enough to drive a man crazy, and the old Hirshel Tzig would've given him a Chelek, but I held my tongue until I could taste my own blood, for the sake of Ahavas Yisroel...