Monday, November 16, 2009

Dear Mum - 4 (great stuff!)

[More zaftige letters from Elozor Reich home to Manchester. The words that are crossed out obviously never made it into the Jewish Tribune... I left in the lines just so you should see what never made it to press.]

Yom Sheni Leseder Nitzovim-Vayelech, Yeshivas Chevron, Yerusholayim
– 31st August 1953

Dear Parents

Even though I have not yet got a permanent place here in the Yeshivah, as accommodation is very short, I have nevertheless got a bit used to the place and have started to learn. This is far more difficult than at the start of a normal Yeshiva Zman as there are so many things to get used to. Firstly, the food and then the people. It is true that a great proportion of the bochurim are of a modern type here, but that matters far less than I expected. The reason is that it is not like Gateshead or in Staines [Yeshivos where I had previously learned] where each bochur was on the best of terms with each other. Here the Yeshivah tends to segregate several groups who, though amongst themselves are very friendly, have very little to do with the others. Most of the bochurim here have never even spoken to half the Yeshivah. There is an olam of Chassidishe who tend to keep together. I shall IY"H write more about it when I have been here longer.

On Friday night I went to the Gerer Tish which is not far from here. It was an interesting experience. Both before and after the Tish the Rebbe marches up and down and across the room. Even though it is densely crowded a path is formed and he looks who is there and every now and then says something to one of his Chassidim. As I had already been to see him he recognized me and shouted "Ver hot dich du aher geshlept". After the Tish I went together with [R' Mordechai Yosef] Kamionka and a few others to his house. He served us with tea and talked to us for about one and a half hours. He was very interested to hear about you and all Manchester, especially his Chasidim there. He told us some Torah and a story about a bochur from Chevron who thought of a Torah to a Schverer Rambam in a cinema and had the Mesiras Nefesh to go out and check it up. He is very interested in British politics and is not lacking in general knowledge. He also gave me a few thumps and smacks and pulled my hat off to see if I had a chupik, but I am told that this is nothing extraordinary. It gets dark here at quarter to eight, and at six on Shabbos afternoon I went to Belz. This is on the other side of Yerusholayim and takes three quarters of an hour to walk. I arrived a quarter hour before Kiddush and as I was a visitor and brought the Gabbai regards from his brother in Manchester I was allotted a good place. The Rebbe, who looks very weak and can hardly see, is carried in on a chair. He is covered with an enormous coat and never looks up, so it it difficult to get a proper glimpse of him. But the hispaalus of being so near to such a Tzaddik is tremendous. The Tish here is quite quite different from Ger. There is a complete lack of ceremony. There is a Moitze then Shirayim, fish, Shirayim, soup ditto, and so on. After every now and then the Rebbe is carried [out] and there is a pause which lasts from five minutes to a few hours. Fortunately, the ones when I was there were nearer the former.

After the Moitze it was beginning to get dark so they davened Mincha and then there was a pause before the fish. With several pauses it was about 9 (well after dark) when the first Seudah was finished. I had intended staying for Seudah Shlishis which was due to start any time and finish about midnight and would then have had a small chance to go in to see the Rebbe, but the pushing which was incessant had tired me and I took the bus back. Next time I intended taking the bus after Shabbos and arriving for Seudah Shlishis. I must say that even though I found he Gerer tish more interesting and lebedik (in Belz they just daven the Zemiros, and you know how they daven in Belz). Nevertheless the Belzer Tish was for me more impressive. I have met many people who I know from England here including Luria, Yochanan Twersky, Steinhaus, who sends regards to Duvy, and various Meshulochim. Last week there was strike in Ponovez Yeshiva on account of the food. The bochurim won and the position there regarding food is now satisfactory. I intend going to Bnei Brak tomorrow to see the Chazon Ish with a certain friend of mine and I intend on visiting the Yeshivos there at the same time.

I have just received your first letter. A letter from home now has now a far greater Chashivus from such a distance. I have digested the contents. I do not intend to do any sightseeing (except for visits to various eminent Jews on the Sabbath) until Bein Hazmanim. Please write all letters now to Chevron Yeshivah, where I am staying now. I have been to the Roshei Yeshivos to say Torah and they seem satisfied. I see myself that a Chassidishe Yeshivah is impossible due to previous objections. Today I heard a Mussar Shmues from the Mirrer Mashgiach [R' Yechezkel Levenstein] who is one of the Tzadikei Hador. Every chosid here admits to that. Afterward I had a talk to him. He is such a nice person. He knew all about my coming to EY and invited me to learn in Mir. If there is anywhere else where I go to learn in Yerusholayim it will be there. The davening there is a mechaye. But the trouble is that the attendance there is very poor. In the evening the Beis Hamedrash is nearly empty and it is very difficult to find a Chaver there.



Anonymous said...

I am enjoying these tremendously. Keep 'em coming!

yehupitz said...

No comments?!
I'm guilty too, but that's because I can't think of anything to say. I just enjoy reading the letters.

One thing that I like about the letters is how they highlight how small and not-taken-for-granted these mosdos were back then.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

a bunch of loafers, the whole lot of ya!


I think that what's gonna elicit comments is a post that highlights the interesting and notable points.

Unknown said...

the censored stuff is the best

Cali shliach said...

Where is the Chabad connection?
Thought you were a Lubavitcher but I see that old habits and your old background are still lurking.
Had a great week of the Kinnus lots of doing lots of Chabad pirsum rishons.Where is yours?
Please keep up the mostly Lubavitch content.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Cali shliach

I see that you're a very slow learner. ah broch on your mekurovim.

where is my pirsum rishon? what's that supposed to mean?

they need to have a better vetting process for shluchim.....

lakewooder said...

Tzig althouge these letters are not eliciting many comments I'd like you to know that me and many fellow yungerleit are enjoying them greatly! please keep em coming.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

Thanks, Lakewooder!

Anonymous said...

keep it up!

An Ailemesher said...

How did u get the censored lines of these letters?

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

how I got them is state secret, my friend

gizt said...

Great stuff Tzig.
We're ready for the next one.
Surprised to see you come down so hard on one of the guys in the club you've been trying so hard to join for so many years. Respect the beitzim.