Thursday, July 31, 2008

MS Forever!

As I've written ad infinitum, I wasn't planning on writing about my experiences on Merkos Shlichus until something interesting happened. Well, today something interesting happened. Last year Mordechai Lightstone was the roving Rabbi in Northwest Connecticut, here's his blog post which deals with what we experienced today.
After pulling into the parking lot of the Connecticut Valley Hospital we searched for ten minutes for the entrance to the wing we were supposed to be visiting. After finding it we had to fill out a brief form, deposit our phones in a locker, and go through a metal detector. We were then permitted to go through to visit our guy, who I will call X, just like Mordechai did.
X came up to us and we slowly ambled on into a conference room. It seems that last year he was in an intensive security wing, while now he's in minimum, which means that he has a lot more freedom. After introducing ourselves we began to discuss Judaism. He's a fan of Mussar, and we talked about how Mussar and Chassidus differ. I told him the famous line, that Mussar lifts a person off the ground while Chassidus brings him up to heaven. This distinction colored the rest of our discussion, which ranged from reward and punishment to heaven and hell, Gan Eden and the world of Moshiach, suffering in Jewish thought, and the purpose of our existence. I did most of the talking, and congratulate myself that I made at least a bit of sense. Once we were finished X put on Tefillin, and we parted amicably.
In the middle of our discussion on Teshuva, wherein I mentioned that Teshuva is properly not repentance but rather return, he mentioned something along the lines of, "Well, I did a big sin. I killed my parents." I didn't quite know what to say, and just responded with a "hmm". The conversation continued unabated, and I explained how no Jew is inherently evil, no matter how heinous a crime he or she have committed. If anything, their soul has merely become covered; all they really need to do is wipe off the grime.
Once we got back to the Chabad house I of course asked the Rabbi to explain what was going on here. In short: X was never all there mentally. At one point he wanted to go and study in Israel. His parents told him that he couldn't. He killed them both with furniture. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity, and later spent 16 years in a maximum security hospital.
When we visited X he seemed perfectly normal. When I look back at our conversation I think, "Wow, he knows something about good and evil, huh?"

108 comments:

Nemo said...

So you've encountered the criminally insane.

Reminds me that I missed a tour I was supposed to go on to Riker's Island today ...

The Real Shliach said...

I had already met those in 770...

Anonymous said...

are the insane chaive in mitzvos

YochananG Aust said...

i was in 770 tonight and i didn't see who you are talking about

The Real Shliach said...

You're missing the forest for the trees.

YochananG Aust said...

the Israeli forests built by JNF

Mottel said...

Thanks for the link drop ;-)
My definitive take on Mr X can be found here

Nemo said...

RootedRabbi- If you're reading this, I have a very important comment for the Roving Rabbis blog.

STOP using the world 'nestled.' It has already appeared in 4-5 posts and in the latest one it doesn't even make sense.

From one Rabbi to another,

Thank you

Eliezer said...

Nemo, the rooted rabbi has accepted your suggestion.

Eliezer said...

To Anonymous,

A shoteh is potur from mitzvos. However, the halachic definition of shoteh is not exactly the legal definition of insane.

Nemo said...

Halachik definitions of Shoteh:

Someone that wanders aimlessly at night, sleeps in cemeteries and tears his clothing.

(See, I did learn something in Yeshiva :)

The Real Shliach said...

Nemo, it's not so simple. The Gemara which defines a Shoteh is also quick to point out that these are only examples. A person could sleep well at night, in his own bed, and have finely tailored clothing, but if he delights in eating rabbit sashimi and is convinced that he is in fact a willow tree, then we can probably say that halachicly he's a Shoteh.

And just to let you know, I'm quite proud.

Eliezer said...

And don't forget that one who can take a shopping list, buy shtuff from the market, and make change is not a shoteh, as the famous story of the Tzemech Tzedek demonstrates. So, basically, if you're in doubt, speak to a competent Orthodox rabbi.

The Real Shliach said...

It's much more fun to make up your own Halacha.

Nemo said...

The Gemara also points out (and this I don't remember exactly) that these things don't inherently make the person Shoteh, rather they have do to it for a specific, crazy, reason.

Other definitions offered: someone who destroys anything he is given (M'Abed kol mah she'nosnim lo) or the broader 'no clue what he's doing' (Oseh, v'aino yodeah mah hu oseh).

The Real Shliach said...

Impressive! After you finish being a lawyer, Shliach, and all round hunk, did you ever consider becoming Rosh Yeshiva in Lakewood?

Nemo said...

Well, before all this, I was planning to become the Dayan of Newcastle, NSW, Australia. But everyone starts out small, right?

The Real Shliach said...

Look at President Taft-he started out a baby and ended up weighing 335 pounds!

YochananG Aust said...

Nemo:חגיגה דף ג,ב
ת"ר איזהו שוטה היוצא יחידי בלילה והלן בבית הקברות והמקרע את כסותו איתמר רב הונא אמר עד שיהו כולן בבת אחת ר' יוחנן אמר אפי' באחת מהן היכי דמי אי דעביד להו דרך שטות אפי' בחדא נמי אי דלא עביד להו דרך שטות אפילו כולהו נמי לא לעולם דקא עביד להו דרך שטות והלן בבית הקברות אימור כדי שתשרה עליו רוח טומאה הוא דקא עביד והיוצא יחידי בלילה אימור גנדריפס אחדיה והמקרע את כסותו אימור בעל מחשבות הוא כיון דעבדינהו לכולהו הוה להו

דף ד,א גמרא כמי שנגח שור חמור וגמל ונעשה מועד לכל אמר רב פפא אי שמיע ליה לרב הונא הא דתניא אי זהו שוטה זה המאבד כל מה שנותנים לו הוה הדר ביה איבעיא להו כי הוה הדר ביה ממקרע כסותו הוא דהוה הדר ביה דדמיא להא או דלמא מכולהו הוה הדר תיקו

YochananG Aust said...

TRS: thats why he got stuck in the tub and needed to be cut out

The Real Shliach said...

So a Lubavitcher Rav, an Australian, and a Shoteh walk into a bar. The Lubavitcher orders a vodka on the rocks, the Australian a Newcastle, and the Shoteh asks for a rubber ducky. "A rubber ducky!" roars the bartender, "this is a bar, not a bath!" The Shoteh replied, "The ducky was going to have a swim in the vodka and be dashed upon the rocks."
Both the Rav and the Australian agreed that this was a very strange attempt at humor.

Anonymous said...

and I thought they were all one and the same....

The Real Shliach said...

I wasn't going to say it...

Nemo said...

Yochanan- That's the one! I see I'm not the only educated one here.

TRS- Oh, so apropos: When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, a certain Ba'al Habos used to have a Mikve song that he'd sing periodically while luxriating himself in the ever-simmering Mikve water there. It went something like this (no T.T.T.O., just a consistent cadence):

If the Mikve were Mashkeh
and I was a duck
I'd swim to the bottom
and drink my way up.

Eliezer said...

Apparently, the rumors are true. Pittsburghers are nuts.

Nemo said...

Elizer- If I'm not mistaken, you have some Pittsburgh blood.

the person who is all three said...

TRS & Anon: you are offending people

The Real Shliach said...

What?

Anonymous said...

nemo: it's Philly blood as far as i know

Anonymous said...

nemo: mission accomplished

The Real Shliach said...

If I only knew what was going on here...

Anonymous said...

TRS: Australia is not Italy

The Real Shliach said...

No, really? I would never have guessed?!

Eliezer said...

Aonoymous, you're a pain in the backside.

Anonymous said...

the Lubavitcher Rav that walked in to a bar

Anonymous said...

eliezer why do you say that

The Real Shliach said...

Eliezer, I second the motion.
As for the bar? What's wrong with a bar? You never ran out of Mashke during a Farbrengen before?

Eliezer said...

Stam spouting nonsense is not a kuntz. Funny nonsense, insightful nonsense, well written nonsense, this is a kuntz

Anonymous said...

but i wouldn't walk in to a bar in Australia looking like a rav since you will find your self needing a few stitches

Eliezer said...

Nemo,

My great-grandfather was the rabbi in Pittsburgh. He started the school there. From what I understand, in Pittsburgh he a big deal.

I do not think it is shameful for the family that our grandparents founded a flaky community. Listen, other people didn't found any community.

Anon., Philly? Wtf?

The Real Shliach said...

Stitches, like bars, are very good: they build character, and they can be very fun too.

I'm not even going to involve myself in this whole Pittsburgh controversy. Oh, I just did? Dang.

diff. anon said...

"So a Lubavitcher Rav, an Australian, and a Shoteh walk into a bar."

Did they (or l'fi the other version; did he) get hurt?

The Real Shliach said...

Anyone who orders a vodka on the rocks has to be prepared to suffer the consequences for his actions.

Anonymous said...

TRS what is fan about stitches

The Real Shliach said...

As any good Jewish mother will tell you, "Try it, you'll like it."

Anonymous said...

not with the Lubavitcher Rav in Italy who goes to the bar every day

Eliezer said...

I hate to be a killjoy, but this conversation is getting very dumb. Who cares if a hypothetical rabbi got beaten by hypothetical Australians? Please!

Caustic, offensive, controversial, ignorant, these are all excusable vises, as they stimulate so form of intellectual interaction. But this? PUUULLEEEZZ!! Perhaps TRS was better before it became a group IM

Anonymous said...

been there done that

The Real Shliach said...

Now I get the Italian reference!
As for Eliezer-well, inquiring minds want to know; are you against people learning new things?

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps TRS was better before it became a group IM"

your probably right

Anonymous said...

....when anyone walks into a bar, a pole or whattnot, they are bound to get hurt...

The Real Shliach said...

That is SO not true. I walk into whattnots all the time, and I'm doing great.

Anonymous said...

"....when anyone walks into a bar, a pole or whattnot, they are bound to get hurt..."

grate joke but it's old

that is a different ANON

Anonymous said...

TRS how many stitches did you get

The Real Shliach said...

I got 'em three or four times, plus staples to get my head back together again.

The Real Shliach said...

Now that I've clarified my own health history:
HELLO ANON! IT WAS A JOKE!
Seriously, what's the issue?

Anonymous said...

and I'm sure it was fan
and if it was then maybe that Connecticut Valley Hospital is a good place for someone like that

The Real Shliach said...

Do me a favor and start spelling "fun" correctly. I wrote a whole reply thinking that you meant "fan".

People like you seem to think that humor can't possibly involve suffering. Well, let me tell you something. Without suffering there is no humor, especially Jewish humor.

Nemo said...

Well, thankfully I missed out on that bought of nonsense.

My only comment is that Eliezer spelled vices wrong.

(And then he has the nerve to call me flaky!)

ahem said...

But, Nemo, you didn't miss out on the BOUT of misspelling.

The Real Shliach said...

Ahh, the sad, ignorant lot who frequent this blog.

Nemo said...

I didn't miss it, I realized after the fact and thought it unwise to comment or delete, seeing as all you folks are subscribed to this blog or something. Of course I had misgivings about leaving it up there as well, considering that the easiest retort to a spelling correction is by correcting the retorter's spelling (or just calling him a moron).

No I'm not a spammer. I just want you guys to do something better than comment on spelling mistakes. FYI, there is a grammar mistake in my name. said...

Check out damninteresting.com. Good articles about interesting topics that stimulate real thinking.

grammar junkie said...

No, ...

I ain't retyping that whole name again. said...

Bingo! A brain like that ought to read "Eats, Shoots and leaves"--if it hasn't already!

Um, that didn't take much effort hun said...

Read one article and found it damn boring.

The Real Shliach said...

Man, there are some strange people in this world.

YochananG Aust said...

trs, and those strange people somehow or other are reading your blog

The Real Shliach said...

I'm quite proud

Nemo said...

Ah, crazies and the criminally insane. The magnet is working fine - you really are 'The Real Shliach.'

Anonymous said...

i know totally off but is this eliezer from melbourne?

Anonymous said...

nice to see you are finally doing some mivtzoim for a change.

Nemo said...

Yeah, but who are you doing Mivtzoim for? Yourself? Your depraved liberal Holywood movie stars? Your Avodah Zara? Molech?

You're not a Shliach of anyone I know!

The Real Shliach said...

What are you going on about?

Nemo said...

Was hoping to spark conversation.

The Real Shliach said...

Learn from the master, Eliezer. When he wants to spark conversation, he goes all schizophrenic and leaves fifteen comments from five different "people".

Eliezer said...

The trick is that when you say something you don't believe solely to spark conversation, you've got write as if you really believe it. Using an alias is one way of achieving this.

Nemo said...

When I want to spark conversation, usually it's conversation I'm looking for, not monologue. Eliezer's method of talking to himself defeats my purpose.

The Real Shliach said...

Go ahead Nemo, conversate.

Eliezer said...

For the most part, my alter egos converse with other people.

I converse with myself only derech agav. This is necessary because of the great realisticness my fictitious constructs are endowed with.

The Real Shliach said...

That doesn't make it necessary, only slightly less odd.

Eliezer said...

It's bloody necessary. When TRC is going after Sabra, and Feminist is going after Nemo, it would be horribly irrealistic for feminist and TRC not to go after each other a bit.

You guys have yet to understand the art of constructing false identities. If I may so so myself, I think I'm quite an expert. I fooled TRS many times in the past, as he can attest.

The Real Shliach said...

Funny that your comment, Eliezer, should come up in a discussion re: the criminally insane. Also, "irrealistic"?

Nemo said...

The art, my friend, is not in constructing your false identity, but by keeping it consistent.

The Real Shliach said...

By that estimation, how is Eliezer doing?

Nemo said...

I'd have to re-read the conversation to determine that, something I'm not keen on doing momentarily.

The Real Shliach said...

You know, we're trying to help you conversate here, and then you go throw a wrench in the machinery. Typical. Absolutely typical.

Nemo said...

Ok, in retrospect, Eliezer isn't consistent:

1. Each one of his characters employs the same linguistic style.

2. There was a shift of responsibility from feminist to Eliezer for the translation of the word 'bulvan.' This raises a few inconsistencies:

a. Why get so attached in the heat of the discussion to something you weren't responsible for?

b. It's atypical of a Lubavitch girl to assume that she needs to offer a translation of a Yiddish word to a Lubavitch bochur.

I could probably pick out some more if I took the time to analyze.

Nemo said...

3. TRC stayed safely away from me, despite my disparaging his views. Not an inconsistencies per se, but a tell-tale sign of someone not looking to get picked apart.

The Real Shliach said...

Impressive analysis.

1. That just shows that the whole world thinks like he does; not a chisaron at all.

2. (a) He is a defender of the truth, of course.
(b) With the kind of education Lubavitch girls are getting nowadays, is it any wonder that they would presume to know more than their betters?

3. Maybe TRC had too much respect for the great Nemo; though he thought Nemo's views were trash, he would never say so in public.

Nemo said...

You're really tooting my horn!

The Real Shliach said...

TOOT! TOOT! TOOT!

Anonymous said...

that's for kindergarten not the home for the criminally insane

The Real Shliach said...

You'd be surprised.

Anonymous said...

Beep beep beep beep
His horn went beep beep beep
While riding in my Cadillac
What to my surprise
A little Nash Rambler was following me
About one third my size
The guy musta wanted to pass me up
As he kept on tooting his horn
I'll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn
Beep beep beep beep
His horn went beep beep beep

I pushed my foot down to the floor
To give the guy the shake
But the little Nash Rambler stayed right behind
He still had on his brake
He musta thought his car had more guts
As he kept on tooting his horn (beep beep)
I'll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn
Beep beep beep beep
His horn went beep beep beep

My car went into passing gear
And we took off with gust (whoosh)
Soon we were going ninety
Musta left him in the dust
When I peeked in the mirror of my car
I couldn't believe my eyes
The little Nash Rambler was right behind
You'd think that guy could fly
Beep beep beep beep
His horn went beep beep beep

Now we were doing a hundred and ten
This certainly was a race
For a Rambler to pass a Caddy
Would be a big disgrace
The guy musta wanted to pass me up
As he kept on tooting his horn (beep beep)
I'll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn
Beep beep beep beep
His horn went beep beep beep

Now we're going a hundred twenty
As fast as I can go
The Rambler pulled along side of me
As if we were going slow
The fella rolled down his window
And yelled for me to hear
"Hey buddy how do I get this car outa second gear?"

The Real Shliach said...

Have you considered the intellectual property ramifications of your actions, oh anonymous one?

Anonymous said...

yes that is why i did not put as link to the actual song

The Real Shliach said...

That would probably have been a wiser course; after all, you would then have given proper credit where credit was due.

Anonymous said...

The Playmates:

Donny Conn (29 March 1930), Morey Carr (b. 31 July 1932) and Chic Hetti (b. 26 February 1930), all from Waterbury, Connecticut, USA.

Anonymous said...

do you want a full biography as well

The Real Shliach said...

Thank you. The US government will rest easier tonight. In other news, I've been in Waterbury CT almost every day for the last three weeks. What a strange and wonderful twist of fate!

And yes, I'd love a full biography.

Anonymous said...

This humorous US pop trio comprised Donny Conn (29 March 1930), Morey Carr (b. 31 July 1932) and Chic Hetti (b. 26 February 1930), all from Waterbury, Connecticut, USA. They formed the comedy and music trio the Nitwits while studying at the University of Connecticut and started touring in 1952 with an act that relied more on humour than singing ability. Renamed the Playmates, they made their first record, "I Only Have Myself To Blame", on Rainbow in 1956. They moved to Roulette Records in 1957 and their third single on that label, "Jo-Ann', a cover version of the Twin Tones" record, hit the US Top 20 in 1958. Over the next four years the clean-cut vocal group chalked up another nine US chart entries including the Top 20 hits "What Is Love?" and "Beep Beep", which reached number 4 in the USA. They later recorded on ABC-Paramount, Colpix, Congress and Bell but their sound proved too dated to sell in the 60s.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

The Real Shliach said...

Now that I know this, what do I do?

Anonymous said...

make your own music become fames and hope that one day in 40-50 some idiots on some blog site will talk about it

Anonymous said...

make your own music become fames and hope that one day in 40-50 years some idiots on some blog will talk about it

The Real Shliach said...

I beg to differ! We are not idiots, but rather connoisseurs on the highest order.
BTW, by the way you're sweet-talking now, I can just tell that you're gonna love tonight's post. (Stay tuned for further details, and remember, careless tautology, not to mention redundancy and tuna fish, sinks ships.

Eliezer said...

RE: My false person abilities:
That night was kind of crazy. Plus I knew that you guys would think it's me. But, when I take it seriously, I can really fool an expert. TRS mistook me for his own father TWICE! Plus I got him to believe I was a bunch of other people, such as Moshe Fleischer and Chebotarskaya. The first time Nemo posted on TRS, it was rumored the he was none other than an alter ego of mine--I kid you not.

The Real Shliach said...

Mazel Tov.