Monday, February 2, 2009

Don't mess with my Rebbe

This writing down of Rabbi Chaim Schapiro's every utterance is getting a bit ridiculous. Some might even unkindly suggest that I have a crush or something on the guy. I was once accused of that by someone, and boy was she embarrassed when I said that the person she thought I had a crush on was in fact my honored father. No, our leader here in Morristown Smicha is not my father, though it does say in the holy books that someone who teaches you Torah is considered to be your pater. Regardless of this, that, and the other thing, and now that we're done with that little introduction, I suppose it's a good idea to get on with the post.

This morning my chavrusa and I started siman 105 and right away the Beis Yosef mentioned the case of an "achbar b'shikra." I asked Rabbi if this really meant a "rodent-like creature in a prominent drink." He answered that indeed it did, and proceeded to explain that we were trying to figure out if this rodent, had it stayed in the liquid for 24 house, would prohibit that very liquid. I said, "You mean, you figure that out after you finish vomiting." He replied, "Are you kidding me? You don't know what's going in on your sheichar and wine." I said something along the lines of "Yuck!", to which he said, "Hey, I'm being serious."
So there you have it, Morristown's very own Upton Sinclair.

Later, in shiur, the Rabbi said that some people were complaining that since they sat in the back of zal they hadn't found out that there was going to be shiur until right before it began. The Rabbi related that back in the day, before 22 Shevat '48, no one knew if the Rebbe would farbreng on any given shabbos. Sometimes the Rebbe would say the mareh mekomos of the Rashi he'd be discussing that Farbrengen. The bochurim in Oholei Torah and Morristown would think up all sorts of questions on that week's Rashis and put them in the kovtzim because sometimes the Rebbe would announce that he would be dealing with "ha'ara 8" or whichever number it was in that weeks kovetz. No one knows if the Rebbe already had an answer or was saying, "I'll figure this out by tomorrow." Other weeks the Rebbe would nod to Rabbi Groner after davening and say that there'd be a farbrengen at 1:30 that afternoon. This always took place in the front of 770, and all the people present would keep their eyes peeled to try and figure out if there'd be a farbrengen.
Anyways, once Rosh Hashanah came out on Shabbos, and Rabbi Schapiro was davening on the bleachers in the back because there was no tekios, and he figured that there was no point in getting crushed in the washing machine if he didn't have to. The Rebbe came in to 770, and nodded to Rabbi Groner, and for once the people in the back found out about the farbrengen before those in the front.

When Rabbi Schapiro came in one of the bochurim asked him if he minded using a padded chair instead of the plastic chair he normally prefers, and someone said, (no this was not me) that perhaps he'd prefer to stand while he delivered shiur. The Rabbi told the following story:

The Rebbe would say a sicha every night of Chol Hamoed Sukkos, and in general these were the only sichos the Rebbe didn't follow with dollars. In '52 they decided that they wanted to have the Rebbe say the speaker from the middle of 770, where he normally farbrenged from, in order that everyone should be able to hear properly. They set up boards from the Rebbe's place in front to the middle, and didn't bring the Rebbe's shtender, just the Rebbe's chair, because they figured they might get the Rebbe to farbreng. After all, it was chol hamoed sukkos.... They also set up 770 like they had it set up by farbrengens.
When it was time for the Rebbe to say the sicha he walked on the boards to the place and looked around for the shtender. One of the mazkirus pointed to the Rebbe's chair, and the Rebbe picked it up, turned it around, and proceeded to lean on it while saying an hour-long sicha.
The lesson? Don't try and be a chacham and try and get the Rebbe to do something he doesn't want to do.

92 comments:

LE7 said...

I wish someone else would start this off because I've got nothing to say.

The Real Shliach said...

Don't look at me-I wrote this whole thing.
I thought for sure you'd wonder who accused me of having a crush on my dad...

SZB said...

I think you have a crush on your dad. and a slew of other people as well.

The Real Shliach said...

Possibly. You know, I didn't want to write the whole story in the post body, because I didn't want to embarass him, but I was happy to put it in the comments...and no one is biting.

Crawling Axe said...

There was a whole story about rats being found in Guiness, and after they were removed, the beer just didn’t taste the same, so they ended up adding a little bit of raw cow meet to the beer. I don’t think the story is true, however, since this would make Guiness not kosher.

There is also a story of my grandmother’s blind neighbor and an old bottle of jam, but I won’t share it, since it’s too disgusting even for me (and I am a Russian-born who kills and dissects mice for a living).

The Real Shliach said...

Yeah, I like guiness, that better not be true.

Does it involve defecation?

Crawling Axe said...

I also heard a story about Chassidim trying to make the Rebbe say a ma’amor after the Rebbetzin passed away, but it’s nowhere near as dramatic as the story with the stender.

Crawling Axe said...

No, cockroaches.

The Real Shliach said...

Yeah, in the later years, the Rebbe said almost no maamarim. There is that famous thing about the Tzemach Tzedek and how he said that since his Rebbitzen passed away he doesn't have the strength, or something like that.

Details please?

Crawling Axe said...

I think Rabbi Paltiel talked about in four years ago for Bosi LeGani here at the beginning.

The Real Shliach said...

Yeah, I listened. That's a really cool story. Depressing too. There'll be no maamar this yud shevat either.

Nemo said...

How did you get to 105 so quickly? Why did you skip all the real Taaruvos?

The Real Shliach said...

We skipped from 99 to 105, and will be going back once we finish. Rabbi Schapiro has some whole crazy schedule mapped out. Don't worry, the test is lag b'omer, we got lots of studying to do, including all the shachs there at the end. Looks scary.

Anonymous said...

really? who asked you if you have a crush on Rabbi Shapiro?

The Real Shliach said...

Actually, they thought I had a crush on my father.

Some bochurim here in Motown and on TRS have accused me of having a crush on him.

sarabonne said...

This is getting interesting. Having a crush on teachers, this I've heard, but one's parent?

chanie said...

Mazkiros? Or mazkirim? Why are there girls in the guy's section?!

The Real Shliach said...

Sara: it all depends on how you define the word "crush".
I'm still shocked that no one wants to hear the story.
Chanie: good point.
Anon: please don't use foul language on TRS. We're a family-friendly blog. If you persist in this behaviour then I'll be forced to disable anonymous comments.

LE7 said...

I totally forgot to subscribe or I would've asked for the story. Please tell us the story.

LE7 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Modeh B'Miktsas said...

What's that "deleted"? You told the story and thought better of it?

Also, what foul language?

chanie said...

Nunu, tell the story....

I simply assumed that it's because you talked about your father all day. In my opinion, that's a good sign....

e said...

Chanie: "Mazkiros" means female secretaries. I think the word is meant to be "mazkirus," which means secretariat.

chanie said...

Ah, and thanks for admitting that it's a good point....would you like to fix it? It's the third line from the bottom.

chanie said...

Yes, I know. But either mazkirus or mazkirim....not mazkirot!

LE7 said...

The deleted comment is from me. I hit publish your comment twice...

The Real Shliach said...

Chanie: yes, it was meant to say mazkirus. But it does not say mazkirot. Go read it again. If I remember I'll fix it a little later.
Modeh: the profanity was some anon who was raging against chanie. I didn't appreciate his foul language.

Everyone: the story is that my father for a while taught at NYU, and I once came to one of his lectures. I was hanging out afterwords, waiting for the students to finish talking to him after the class was over, and when there was only one hanger-on by father started walking downstairs and out of the building, the student and I following. I wasn't saying anything, just walking, and the student turned to me and she said, "What, do you have a crush on him or something?" I said, "Um, actually, he's my dad..." She didn't know what to say, and ran off as fast as her little legs could carry her. Or something very much like that.

Crawling Axe said...

You should’ve answered that you had a crush on her — to see how she reacts. (Something worth going to Hell for.)

Crawling Axe said...

Hey, I just used today a moshol of coming to see your father speak on a topic that you don’t understand (but come to see him speak about to see the “real” him, in his essence) as a moshol for A"R’s explanation of hidden good in the suffering in perek 26.

Did you understand his lecture?

LE7 said...

Cute story. But I agree with Axel, you should have retorted as such...

sarabonne said...

Hm, yes I second that. Shame she couldn't ask her question though...

The Real Shliach said...

Yeah, it was on constitutional law (as far as I can recall it was on the protection clause) for students considering going to law school. I got it. But still, I can see how the mashal would work.

LE7: she was in her mid to upper thirties. I was what, 18? Besides, my father was standing right there.

The Real Shliach said...

Sara: don't worry, she got to ask it. Before her brilliant pronouncement.

sarabonne said...

Oh good. See, I always look out for the little people...

The Real Shliach said...

Yeah, if I recall correctly, she was told by my father that she probably wouldn't do well in law school.

The Real Shliach said...

Yeah, if I recall correctly, she was told by my father that she probably wouldn't do well in law school.

Crawling Axe said...

Why? She jumped to conclusions too quickly?

(On the other hand, if she was in her mid-thirties and in college, pre-law program…)

sarabonne said...

Sheesh, no wonder you got the blunt of it. I bet law was her last option before working at K-mart.

LE7 said...

The older the woman the greater the opportunity for chutzpah!

The Real Shliach said...

As I believe I mentioned, she was a nurse...

Crawling Axe said...

She was a nurse? Dude? How could you leave out this crucial part of the story. It changes everything!

sarabonne said...

Why would a nurse go into pre-law, outside of the obvious reason of persecuting her patients...

The Real Shliach said...

Sorry. Seems like I've left out some important details from stories in the last few days. Now that I think more deeply into it, she may just have been a nurses assistant of something like that.

Jesse said...

trs, rabbi dick (downstairs) told us that Guinness is not kosher. bc they use grape skins in the beer to make it dark, and i guess that implies that there is no supervision. you should ask him about it.

The Real Shliach said...

Hmm. Interesting.
The thing about beer is that unless you know it's not Kosher you're allowed to drink it, because we assume it's Kosher. I'll have to look into this one.
BTW, you currently learning in MoTown?

The Real Shliach said...

http://www.kashrut.com/articles/liquor2/

I don't know how trustworthy this is-they don't seem to like Benedictine, and as we all know, the Rebbeim were big fans.

Jesse said...

no i was over the summer im learning in jerusalem now. yea i understand that about beer. but also i was in place here in jlem that served Guinness. (and the place had a hecksher.) but it doesnt matter for me since i dont like the stuff anyway

Crawling Axe said...

Is every liquor normally under supervision? I can’t imagine all of imported Russian vodka is under rabbinic supervision — I thought we just assume that it’s kosher (unless flavored). But who knows what those sneaky Communists are adding to their vodka?

The Real Shliach said...

Jesse: Hmm. I mean, it's an interesting shailah. Until a rabbi who knows what he's talking about tells me himself...

CA: Of course not. Most liquors aren't. But generally we can trust most of them to just be nasty without being not-Kosher. You heard about the Putin and Medevev vodkas?

LE7 said...

Jesse - weren't you there another time also??

Crawling Axe said...

B’chlal but not b’prat.

The Real Shliach said...

In reference to what?

Crawling Axe said...

I know generally speaking that Putin and Medvedev vodkas exist. What about them? Are they particularly nasty?

The Real Shliach said...

No, there was a cute thing about them, that the Putin one is wildly popular, while the Medevev one is in the dumps.

Crawling Axe said...

Yeah, I heard about that.

As they say, Putin has become the new Medvedev, which Medvedev hopes to become if he is a good new Putin.

Crawling Axe said...

(There was also the whole question of Medvedev not having Putin’s portrait in his office. “My relationship with VVP is beyond a portrait,” he explained. People then wondered if Putin has Medvedev’s portrait in his office, or, as before, Peter I. Of course, in reality it should be his grandfather’s boss’s portrait.)

The Real Shliach said...

Does this mean we're going to get into a whole Russian politics conversation?

Jesse said...

i was just meaning supervision in the case of Guinness specifically because of the possible use of grapes to darken the beer. but your right with the other liquors. but i do know that some do have heckhers like godiva dark cholcate is OU, not oud. and i believe starbucks is also OU. the CRC website has some really good info on these types of things.

LE7 said...

Don't drink = no problems

Crawling Axe said...

Well, we could, but I pretty much summarize the political situation of contemporary Russian Federation.

LE7: what are you saying?

The Real Shliach said...

Jesse: excellent.
LE7: huh?
CA: I agree, her comment made no sense.

LE7 said...

Since I don't drink I don't have to worry about the kashrus of any alcoholic beverages...

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Yes but then you have to stay sober all the time. As we know, sobriety is not only an unhealthy psychological state which causes undue seriousness and maturity, but it is also anathema to chassidus and has been known in some cases to lead to the authorship of nigleh sfarim.

The Real Shliach said...

LE7: See what Modeh said.

Cheerio said...

LE7 - if you don't drink, you can never elevate the alcohol. can you live with that??

The Real Shliach said...

If she doesn't drink, she can never vomit from alcohol! Can she live with that?

LE7 said...

If I don't drink I can never let that lacking enzyme from my Native Americaness express (or not you know what I mean) fully, turning me into an alcoholic - can I live with that?!

The Real Shliach said...

I can't wait to find out. BTW, is that hereditary.

LE7 said...

so i'll send my sons to a yeshiva that doesn't allow alcohol...

The Real Shliach said...

Where is this place? It must be destroyed at once!

Crawling Axe said...

I still need to write about some of Yakov Ephraim’s stories. Such as about misnagdim having a siyum with soda (after he finally convinced them to bring some alcohol, they brought Schnapps). The guy is hillarious.

So, if you want your children to see no difference between Kabbalos Shabbos and a funeral, yeah, sure, send them to such yeshiva.

LE7 said...

CA - My dad is Cherokee... I mean, I could risk the alcoholism. Why not?

Crawling Axe said...

I am not saying one has to drink. The drink itself never means anything. It’s the sort of company of people who don’t drink as a rule.

LE7 said...

Yeah, we're really boring.

Crawling Axe said...

Girls are OK not to drink (or use iPhone). Men have no excuse (well, unless they do).

LE7 said...

Please tell that to my lady friends, they don't understand that I don't want to drink. (Personally I have a hard time seeing how a lady sees tznius if she drinks whatever).

Crawling Axe said...

There is a story about two chassidim, who would meet to farbreng. One of them would bring a sotka, a small bottle that contained only 100 g of vodka (one shot). They would pour it out into a shot glass and put the glass between them.

Then, one of them would cry, and the other, knowing what the first one was crying about, would also cry. They would sit like this, without words, and then at the end, pour vodka back into the bottle and go home.

First moral of the story: it’s not about drinking. When drinking is about drinking, you’ve missed the point, so you shouldn’t be drinking to begin with.

Second moral of the story: regardless of whether you drink or not, you takeh need mashka present on the table.

Now, this is for men who have a problem with brudershaft lehatchilo. I don’t see why women would have such a problem.

The Real Shliach said...

Mashke is a davar maos. You're only allowed 4 lchaims. R' Mendel Futerfas said, "You must have 4 lchaims." Women, unless they're Cheerio, should not be drinking.

Crawling Axe said...

400 g is still a lot. If you’re amongst friends. 3 lechaims is normal. 2 if you’re conservative. 1 if you’re driving.

“We thought he was a Jew, and then he said a toast” (Dovlatov). Jews didn’t drink. Goyim drank.

The Real Shliach said...

You kidding me? You have to farbreng more.

Crawling Axe said...

I am talking about back in the Medina. Jews didn’t drink. Consuming a gallon of Smirnoff and spending a couple hours downstairs in 770 was not something Jews did. Forget frum Jews. Forget Chassidim. Forget Lubavitch Chassidim. Forget on the Rebbe’s birthday.

The Real Shliach said...

Never happened. Chassidim, and dare I say Jews, have been drinking forever.

Crawling Axe said...

(Now, this does not contradict saying kiddush on mashka on S"T. Also, drinking a glass of pure alcohol down with your fellow goy to prove a point. My grand-uncle could drink any goy under the table and “not in a single eye”, as they say. Time and place.)

Crawling Axe said...

Drinking and drinking is different.

The Real Shliach said...

Whatever.

Crawling Axe said...

Now, herring — that truly was forever.

The Real Shliach said...

Smells like it too.

Crawling Axe said...

Herring smells well preserved.

Baal Shem Tov once said (at least according to the guy whose works Shlomo the dog wouldn’t eat) that he owes everything to mikveh. Russian chassidim owe everything to herring.

No mashka without herring. No farbrengen without mashka. No chassidus without farbrengen.

The Real Shliach said...

Actually, I can't stand herring.

Crawling Axe said...

You see — that’s the root of the problem.

Crawling Axe said...

Also, I assume you haven’t tried the real herring.

The Real Shliach said...

Maybe not.