Saturday, August 16, 2008

Roshs all round

Rabbi Chayim Friedman, Rosh Yeshiva of YHSTC, was perusing through Irving Bunim's english translation and commentary of Pirkei Avos. I sat down across from the Rosh Yeshiva, and he said a little thing that he claimed would, if internalized properly, lead to the obsolescence of educational facilities as we know them today.
There was once a guy who came to his Rabbi with a problem. "Rabbi," he said with a frown, "I have a big problem." The Rabbis invited him to elaborate. "Well you see," continued the man,"I captured a Cossack recently, and now he's constantly beating me up!" The Rabbi inquired, "Why don't you just let him go?" The poor man said, "I would love to, but he's in charge now!"
So too a person starts to sin, and it's great. Eventually, the sin takes the person over, and he can't escape. As the Rosh Yeshiva pointed out, if people would only realize this then no one would sin. Of course, Tanya says that if people would only realize that their sinning separates them from G-d, then they wouldn't sin.

On Thursday night Rabbi Manis Friedman answered the people's queries at a Q&A at Beis Chana. One of the participants asked, "Why is it that Jews fight so much? Isn't it terrible?" Rabbi Friedman answered, "Yes, it really is terrible. Infighting is the one thing which is destroying Judaism. There's no reason why everyone can't just all get along. If they all became Lubavitch then there'd be no problem." The whole audience laughed. Rabbi Friedman said, "Actually, even if everyone became Lubavitch, it wouldn't solve anything. In fact, it would probably make things worse."

I discussed the recent cellphone ban by Lubavitch Yeshivos with Rabbi Mottel Friedman, dean of YHSTC, and he clarified a couple of things. First of all, he thought it was only for Mesiftas, not for Zals. Secondly, his Yeshiva will continue to not allow any cellphones, not even so-called Kosher ones. Thirdly, he said that the problem is not one of distraction, but rather of who the Bochurim are talking to. When he told me this I refused to believe it, because in general I trust people to do the right thing, but he said that the major issue here is that Bochurim have girlfriends, and that we're not only talking five or ten percent. If the problem is systemic, then I suppose that the ban is not necessarily a bad thing. As in all issues, though I may not agree before a decision is made, once it is set in stone I hope that it's followed through and strongly enforced. The only thing worse than a rule is a badly-enforced rule.


Cheerio said...

love the manis friedman story. what a statement.
about the ban - wow, i wonder if the kid i know who's going there knows that...
and b - i refuse to believe it, too. the distraction issue that was brought up before is a much more valid reason, i think, that really applies to EVERY bochur.

Just like a guy said...

The distraction issue does apply to every Bochur, but I don't think that it's strong enough to take away cellphones. And yes, tell that Bochur now, before things get entertaining (for the rest of us, anyway).

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.:
Taking your Friday comments in conjunction with this, the solution to the phone issue is obvious - Yeshivas should provide each Bochur with a dog. Then they would have someone to care for and who cares for them, someone who will uncritically listen to their problems, provide a lick on the hand for reassurance and be available for walks. This would all be a lot better than any girlfriend I ever ... um... heard about and they would be able to keep their phones which presumably would only be used to call family and order dog food.

Mottel said...

Leon De Toot, that was absolutely the funniest thing I've read all morning!

I once sat down to write a book called "Why every bochur needs a dog." That plan though was short lived, on account of my ADD.

The bottom line is, nobody ever had a better year because they had a cell phone. So everybody just calm down.

What are you doing for the year?

Cheerio said...

then again, without a cell phone, how will a bochur call his girlfriend at 3 am? or his dog?

Just like a guy said...

I once sat down to write a book called "Why every bochur needs a dog."
Isn't there a little historical revisionism going on here? If you'll take a moment to read Friday's post...

"That plan though was short lived, on account of my ADD."
I thought it was on account of your expressing all your ideas in five paragraphs, and not having much else to say afterwards.

"What are you doing for the year?"
As far as I know LdT will be doing the same thing this year that he's been doing for the last thirty or so years-working harder than any other man has worked to keep his children living in the style to which they've become accustomed.

Anonymous said...

so am i vindicated? or do i still have to defend my stance? i do have a lot to say on the topic-

just wondering
am i the only one who is busy in real life? how do you (trs) have the time to post on (min) of three sites (here, nemo and cheerio)? i am extremely jealous of your strategizing, and want to learn how to be like you -:)

Just like a guy said...

Are you vindicated? You want to think that you're vindicated? Whatever floats your boat.

I am actually extremely busy in real life. In the summer I have slightly more time, but my days are pretty jam packed. The trick is to have some surgery and become a guy :)