Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Yud Shevat Review

Today was Yud Shevat, and I thought I'd give you a little insight of what it was like for me. I went to 770 to for Maariv, and started Davening with the fifth Minyan that had began after I came. This year is the first year that I'm truly appreciating this holiday. Every time I turn my head I see a friend that I haven't seen in a year or two, and of course I must have a conversation with them. The difference between guys and girls, besides the obvious ones, like their (whose?) superior intelligence (I'm not telling-too dangerous) is that girls have to talk every two days in order to keep close, whereas guys can not see each other for twenty years and then hook up like it was yesterday. Man, that was a nasty sentence. My point is merely that I've been bumping into friends, and it's really great. So anyway, after Davening Maariv, I talked with some guys, including the not so-almighty editor, and then walked up some Shul on Crown St, called Agudah (I think). It has some great exposed brick for a wall, which is something that I really like. Rabbi Schapiro, of YOEC fame, was the Mashpia, and boy oh boy he didn't disappoint. His greatest line is "Taamu Ureu Ki Tov Havaya", literally, "Taste and see that G-d is good." It's funny, he didn't actually say it this time, but it was the underlying foundation of everything that he did say. Oh, in case you're wondering, I'm aware that it's from Tehillim.
The great thing about R. Schapiro is that he makes everything crystal-clear; in fact, it's from him that I picked up my life-philosophy of "Either G-d or Baal", which is basically that if a person believes in Hashem, then he or she should go all the way, and if not, then leave it all. This is of course the subject of today's Tanya. Look it up. The truth is that this philosophy doesn't leave any room for 99% of our Jewish brethren, so it does require the caveat that if a person is trying, or trying to try, to be sincere, then it's all right if they slip up from time to time.
R. Schapiro dealt with a whole host of issues, all of which are very important. The one which struck me the most was his assurance that if a person gives his all to the Rebbe, then the Rebbe will give his all to the person. He brought as an example a true story, that actually happened (Emese Maase Shehaya), where a guy had four unmarried daughters. He went to the Ohel, and promised the Rebbe 10,000 dollars for each, and he paid up. That year, all four of his daughters got married. This was not a guy swimming in cash, and that's the point. Only if something is difficult is it worth doing. As a Bochur, it's out of the question for me to give 10,000 dollars, because I've never even seen that much money. Rather, I, and everyone, has to do something special, something that can't even be demanded, and do it.
So I went to sleep at 4:30, and woke up at 8:45. This comes after getting four hours of sleep the previous night too. Following Mikveh and Davening (in 770 [not the Mikve]), I went to the Ohel, waited in line for 45 minutes, which time I spent listening to inane comments for 14 year olds, and saying the first third of Tehillim, was in the Ohel itself for approximately 39 seconds, tried to be a little holy for a few seconds, and then it was all over. Mincha in the Rebbe's house was interesting, to say the least. After the chazzan started Ashrei a kid finished with Tehillas Hashem... and then launched into half-Kaddish. Once he was done the Chazzan said half-Kaddish. So that was weird. My Yud Shevat concluded with a Sicha learned in 770, with my good friend Yossi Shomer, and tonight I'll be farbrenging again with R. Schapiro.
And as they say in books, magazines, and other forms of idiocy, a good time was had by all. And remember, starting a sentence with "And" is an important ingredient of your everyday breakfast.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ive got to dissagree with you on one point-the guy/girl difference in relating to friends. Im a girl and I have some friends who if Im not in contact with them, then yeah, our relationship is pretty much over because it probably had litle depth to it from the star. Yet I have other friends. with whom I have a soul connection, that although I may only see them a couple times a year, we always pick up where we left off. So please dont make assumptions about the opposite gender, unless you know its a fact.

The Real Shliach said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Real Shliach said...

My dear, I know virtually nothing about the opposite gender, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Anyway, perhaps you're the exception that proves the rule?