Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rounded, polished, and smooth

Apparently the boys are out on Merkos Shlichus again. Meanwhile, I'm in Crown Heights. That's right, I'm comparing MS and CH, even though they're apparently incomparable. Well, once again "apparently" is wrong, because MS and CH are the same thing. They're both states of mind. Just this past Friday I saw two Kollel guys doing mivtzoyim right outside the Brooklyn Musueum. Quite heartwarming that was. As for CH, well, I know plenty of bochurim on MS who've gotten up at 11:00, gone to Mikve (admittedly not necessarily in an actual Mikve) and only gotten around to actually accomplishing something much later in the day. Point is, here's some MS shtuff from three years ago in S. Joe, Missouri.

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The first city we visited was S. Joseph, Missouri. It was a hot day. For some reason we couldn't find any contacts that the previous groups had made, so we were basically on our own. We were walking by the police station when we suddenly heard banging. Of course we looked up, and there was a guy waving at us. "Hey," we thought, "this is pretty easy! These guys are begging us to come!"

So we walked in, and the kind receptionist said, "People banging and waving? Oh, those must be the prisoners." And no, we weren't allowed to go and see if any were Jewish. The lady did give us the names and addresses of the two local synagogues, so we resolved to check out the situation. On our way back to the car I noticed the county office, so we went in. The commissioner was also very nice, and he was even friends with a (minister? priest? reverend?) "clergyman of another faith" who sits with the rabbi of one of the local synagogues on an interfaith board, and so we got a phone number. No one picked up the phones, or was by the synagogues, which was too bad.

...Ah yes, City Hall. Magnificent building, made even more magnificent by the, well, magnificent air conditioning. Do I get a prize for using the word "magnificent" three times, in a relatively intelligent manner, in one sentence? I did mention it was hot, right? Anyway, no new info from the secretary, and so we drove off to the Pony Express Museum. None of the horses had any Jewish affiliation.

There was a store that we meant to visit, but by the time we arrived it had already closed. Oh, well. But right next to that was a beautiful park that we drove and walked around, finding many beautiful vistas but unfortunately no Jews. Then we had a brilliant idea. Where do people hang out? Baseball games. So we tried to find the baseball game. Forty minutes later we ended up at the town library, so we walked in.

Gold. Both librarians were very talkative, which is perfect, because so am I. Turns out there are no decent jobs in S. Joe, but there is plenty of meth. Sounds like a good place for a nice Jewish boy, huh? We did look in the White pages though, and finally found him. The one we'd been waiting for. The whole reason we'd come into northern Missouri. A JC Penney's.

Just kidding. We found a Jew. He didn't really want to meet with us. And so of course he didn't. We don't force people to do anything. It's counterproductive.

And besides for a quick stop at the local mall, punctuated by some more talkative but unfortunately non-Jewish people, that was basically it. A success? There's a famous story that two students went a'roaming and came home depressed, having accomplished nothing. And that Shabbos, the Rebbe said that no, they had accomplished. An old woman had seen two young men walking around, with beards, hats, and jackets, and decided to light Shabbos candles. Point is, you never know what you've done. And as I said, we certainly did our fair share of walking around in beards, hats, and jackets. So please do your part and light those Shabbos candles. ;)

14 comments:

Yossi said...

I had forgotten all about those kollel guys... good thing you never let your guard down

katsker said...

It is our job on this world to perform our hishtadlut. That is all that is in our hands (so to speak) and that is all that we are encumbent to do. It is immaterial if you found any Jews or not, or if even any Jew saw you. You did what the Aibeshter wants from you.

Often, when we don't see the immediate fruits of our labour, we become discouraged. Aderaba V'Aderaba: when we reep instant reward we feel a degree of satisfaction. Conversely, when our chushim tell us that we worked for not, while our minds tell us otherwise, that is the reall Avaydah. It is a more subliminal display of avdus - one that is intrinsictly more meaningful - when we daven even when we don't have a geshmak. Through such actions, we demonstrate that we are subordinate to the Divine will and not to our personal subjective feelings of spiritual growth.

Of course, it is mi'orer the chushim and the ratzon (pnimiy and chitzony) when we realize that we had an immediate impact, therefore the Rebbe mentioned that the woman who was inspired to light the candles.

I would note, that it wasn't the mere presence of the Chassidim that inspired that lady, rather (perhaps subconcious) recognition that there are people willing to be moser nefesh for a Higher cause. Not to be satisfied with living comfortably in their own daled amot, but going out and awakening the dormant pintelleh yid of a woman who might have not seen a Chossid since her youth by her grandfathers Seder.

Ashrechuh

The Real Shliach said...

Yossi: Yes, they nearly got me to put on Tefillin...

Katzker: Yes.

e said...

Methinks there was some originally some stronger language regarding the dude who didn't want to see you, which has been lost in the mists of time.

The Real Shliach said...

Methinks you are correct. Were we already chatting way back when?

sarabonne said...

I know a quick and easy way you could have gotten into that prison. The only issue would be getting out.

The Real Shliach said...

Quite.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

All you had to do was let the local fuzz catch you farbrenging. In Amurriken, farbrenging is called 'drunk and disorderly.' You could have been arrested chucked in the drunk tank and let out the next morning all for a mere $300 in fines.

The Real Shliach said...

A. One wonders how many Jews were present in the local jail.

B. One wonders if going to jail would be a positive for the spreading of the Judaism among the masses.

C. One wonders how things might have been different if TRS had been accompanied by Modeh or Sara.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

If I went on merkos shlichus we would turn the whole region into lubavitchers and my partner into a snag.

The Real Shliach said...

And what would you be?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

A bigger and better better version of the cholent yid I am now, only probably with a record.

The Real Shliach said...

A record of what?

sarabonne said...

A crimminal record.