Friday, January 9, 2009

Wake up and see the truth

I thought that once I left the Yeshiva High School of the Twin Cities that I would be done with shlichus. No longer would wake up at 7 every morning, walk a mile in the freezing cold to Yeshiva, and then spend fifteen minutes waiting for my kid chavrusas to get up out of bed so we could learn a little. And again, the whole day I was pressuring kids to do this or that, and while it was rewarding, and looking back I see that I really loved it, nevertheless, it does have its downsides. When us shluchim first arrived there we were told that the bochurim looked up to us, because we were bochurim like them, not hanhala. We could make a difference. We had the power.
While this is true to a certain extent, the very fact that we had the name "shluchim" hampered our ability. The bochurim had certain expectations of us, and we of the bochurim, and neither of these necessarily enhanced our ability to do our job properly.
On the first day of coming to Morristown Rabbi Chaim Schapiro sat us down and read the riot act, including this gem, "The younger bochurim look up to you. No, that's not true, they'll use you as an excuse." And it's very true. But at the same time, as a smicha bochur, the bochurim, or at least some of them, do seem to be affected by us.
For example, I learn with a younger Bochur by Chassidus at night. He knows that if we're not learning, or if the bullshove isn't interesting me, than I'll either just open up a sefer and learn by myself or else pick up and leave. Because at this age, I'm (usually) not too interested in wasting my time. Last year I couldn't do this, because I had a responsibility to learn with my kiddies. But now, there's no such thing. You're not interested? No problem, but don't expect anything from me.
That's one of the problems with being a shliach in yeshiva. You can't curse out kids, and let them have a piece of your mind. And even when you do, it just doesn't sound right. But now? I farbreng with this bochur at least once a week, just stam in the middle of seder. And believe it or not, he listens to me. He thinks I make sense. Let's not kid ourselves, he hasn't transformed himself or anything, but still, I like to think that I'm having a positive affect. He's also done something that never happened last year in Minnesota-he's asked me to farbreng for his class. As a smicha bochur, I'm somehow able to do so much more because it's not my job.
All those guys in smicha pogrims, they're missing out on so much. Come to MoTown, or even LA, and do so much more shlichus than you ever did while on shlichus. Because, yeah, we got the power.
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Meanwhile, in other news, I finally finished labeling all my posts. It was a major pain, and the astute reader will notice that the criterion for labeling changed over time. Sometimes I just made a new label, and other times I realized that I was labeling shtuff incorrectly. Be that as it may, I think you'll enjoy it. Most of them are pretty self-explanatory. The Farbrengen label has some really great shtuff. The shtuff label? Not so much.
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Last night we had a hakhel/hungry gathering with Rabbi Wagner from our very own Tiferes Bachurim. He said a well-known mashal that I liked, so I'll give it over to you too. Sorry I can't provide you with the second part, the onion rings and Coke, you had to be there. By the way, since when did Liebers (or whoever makes them) change their onion rings? I much preferred the old variety. Anyway...

A chassid, back in the day, once came to the big city and he heard everyone speaking about this incredible new thing; the cinema. Being a curious type he went in, and after buying himself a large Coke and (the original, and much better) onion rings he sauntered down the aisle and found himself a seat. He was amazed at what he saw-people having a conversation on the screen. Incredible! Only problem was, it was so dark in there. He couldn't see. Being a resourceful chassid, he pulled a flashlight out of his vest (did I mention that he was a Zirkind?) and shone it upon the screen. The picture immediately disappeared, and everyone else in the theatre began to hurl invectives at him (in Russian of course). He didn't get it; "What's the problem?", he said, "I was just trying to make it light so that I could see better." It took them a while, but they finally explained to him that in fact the people on the screen weren't there; it was only the darkness in the room that allowed them to seem real.

There's this miserable thing called Galus. We're all suffering in it. We look around the world, at everything that goes on, and become convinced that it's all really going on. We allow ourselves to be affected. The truth is though, it doesn't really exist. Everything that's going on is merely a show. All we have to do is shine a flashlight, and suddenly all will be revealed. What's our flashlight? Ner Mitzvah v'Torah Ohr. Our flashlight is our Torah and Mitzvos. And once we turn those on, this whole galus will be revealed as a fake. It's not reality, just a projection on the real world, G-d's world.
The world doesn't want you to shine that flashlight. It enjoys thinking itself real. The world screams at you, "Why are you showing my true colors? Let yourself be affected. Let yourself think that nature rules, that there's only one way to get ahead in life, to survive." Our mission is to ignore the naysayers, to reveal what's already there.
So why is it dark? Because, if it wasn't, there'd be no battle. Everything would be obvious. we need Galus to fulfill what we have to do.
But you know what? We've done all we can. The mission is over. The buttons have been polished. There's no reason for it to be dark anymore.

34 comments:

Cheerio said...

now, i see why you were begging.
so i get to kick off the comments on this one. a sincerely serious post by trs.
no kid respects the person being paid to be there. even if you chose to be there in general, you're not choosing to be there for the kid every day. and you have the responsibility to make him toe the party line.
there's an interesting corollary when it comes to dorm counselors. there are dc (or at least in my dorms) who enforced rules rigidly, arranged farbrengens, etc, etc. they tried to be "good role models". we hated them. made fun of them, tried to get out of doing stuff with them, rebelled in every small way we could. then there are dc's who interpret the rules. they run interference between you and the dorm mother. they let you know that some things they'll let slide. and so when it comes to the important stuff, we'd listen. we'd talk to them when they came to hang out in our room - because we knew they were coming to hang out, not to make sure we were wearing socks with our pajamas.

The Real Shliach said...

Socks with your pajamas?

The Real Shliach said...

You knew I'd respond to that one line, no?

Cheerio said...

i should have!
it's another tznius restriction limited to women. cuz i guess even when surrounded solely by members of the same gender (and don't try to make it an acronym, it doesn't work), we have to cover up our cute little tootsies.

The Real Shliach said...

And I never knew. There's so much I have to learn.

And where is the source for this?

Cheerio said...

dude, i'm an uneducated woman who needs a paper to proclaim how much i DON'T know. i just do (or don't do) what i'm told. you're the chauvinistic semicha guy who's gonna be telling kids like me what to do in a coupla years, you find out!

The Real Shliach said...

I honestly can't wait till that day comes: TRS, mashpia to the stars!

The Real Shliach said...

But in general, us guys don't know too much about these girl issues.

LE7 said...

I can't believe I'm commenting this early.

So I had a conversation with the holy one himself when I was at Bais Chana and what he said ties into what you said, sort of. Wow, huh? (Okay actually in an extremely general way, but after all, all comments are welcome).

LE7 said...

Also, this was reflective in a good way.

The Real Shliach said...

The early bird gets the worm.

So what did he say that I said?

And yeah, I impressed even myself with this post.

me said...

Great Moshol!

I like.

Toda.

Nemo said...

When I was on Shlichus I was was offered the position of "dorm counselor" (quotations to emphasize absurdity) for the rest of the Shluchim in the program.

I refused their attractive salary and benefits package - not wanting to sign my own death certificate.

LE7 said...

Maybe I'll blog about what he said. So I guess I can't spill the beans here.

The Real Shliach said...

Nemo: Yeah, that would have really been a great way to make friends with your fellow Shluchim.

LE7: A sneak preview at least?

LE7 said...

Shlichus.

Farbrengen said...

BS"D
I really enjoyed this post. It's amazing how a job title can actually undermine the entire purpose of your position... Even when you give and are on the side of the dormies etc, and give and give, many still don't appreciate it and only find every negative thing to point out. From my experience, I think that you learn a LOT about people-and yourself, when you're in such positions.
The moshol with the cinema was great... Kind of reminded me of the moshol with the "mud hole". I want to go to a bochurim farbrengen, and it looks like you really appreciate them, lucky lucky....

The Real Shliach said...

Nu, which moshol with the mud hole?

You'll never get to one, be happy with what you have. With that in mind, where's your next post? The test is in a week, and I'm supposed to be paranoiding right now.

Farbrengen said...

BS"D
Can we swap a shidduch post for a post about the mud hole?

The Real Shliach said...

Anything for you.

Farbrengen said...

BS"D
Who says I'll never get to one? The world works in mysterious ways, don't erase possibilities before they can even be considered.

B"H I'll try to the the post up by sunday or monday b"n.
Hatzlocha on the test 'Rabbi TRS to be...'

The Real Shliach said...

Who says you'll never get to one what?

I appreciate it.

I need it. After I pass this first test I'll be "Ra". Like the egyptian sun god. Then I become "Rab". Then "Rabb". Then finally, after I master the laws of the holy sabbath, I become "Rabbi".

Jesse said...

R' Wanger, is probably one of my favorite people in motown, and i think of the better fargbeners.

Farbrengen said...

BS"D
Soon-to-be-"Ra", what if, instead of some random informational post, I'll put together a list of questions for commentors to answer. It is a catch 22... You'll have a post up AND you'll have a bunch of comments.
What do you think?

The Real Shliach said...

Sounds good to me.

LE7 said...

Farb, you're becoming real clever girl.

The Real Shliach said...

Though of course that's not a catch-22.

LE7 said...

WAIT, does this mean Farb is writing a book?

The Real Shliach said...

Why would it?

LE7 said...

Catch 22. Duh. (Three hours of sleep at least makes that connection a duh).

Farbrengen said...

BS"D
You're right, I didn't mean a catch 22, I meant a situation where either way you win, not loose! Oops!

B"H I'll do it tommorrow (why procrastinate now if I can procrastinate later?)

The Real Shliach said...

As I always say, "Why burn your bridges after you've crossed them when you can do it before with exponentially increased fabulousness?"

Mottel said...

Awesome stuff. I wish you would email me everything this good.

The Real Shliach said...

Which Mottel is this?