Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Where Do These People Come From?

3 of the Sixth Month 5768

A few years ago, I was dragged to an engagement party. Thank goodness it was over. Of course, I wasn't going to go in, as it was... mixed (whispered). I did take a peek inside the famous "shul" hosting the shindig. I couldn't help it; I was intrigued....

Well, after my anticlimactic peek, I escaped back outside, leaving behind a dwindling pontification about kevunnah during particular days of S'firus haOimer. Colors like purple and chartreuse also fit into it somehow. But I didn't stick around long enough to find out why.

Whew! Fresh air! Not for long, though, as I couldn't help but catch the conversation between my
[not anymore] friend and some woman he knew. They bumped into each other, while I was inside the "shul." Actually, it wasn't really a conversation, but more like a monologue....
I'm giving a shee'eer. You should come to my shee'eer. Did I tell you I'm giving a shee'eer? Yes, Rabbi so-and-so is away, so I'm giving his shee'eer. You could learn a lot from my shee'eer. You should really come to my shee'eer. Why aren't you coming to my shee'eer?

I can't even pronounce the word shee'eer. Can you? Did she perhaps mean shi'ur? My gaivah-radar alarm went off almost immediately. So, I stayed off to the side, pretending to admire the architecture of the "shul." It was a good thing, too. No one could see my eyes popping out of their socket.

Oh, and before anyone starts harassing me about this irritating incident involving a woman, let me just say that it would irritated me equally if it had been a man.

I once overheard another women say something like the following. Once again, it could easily have been a man.
He's a raaaaabbi. He has smeeeeecha. Are you a raaaaabbi? Do you have smeeeeecha? You don't have smeeeeecha. YOU're not a raaaaabbi. You have to stand for a raaaaabbi. I heard a raaaaabbi once say that you have to, so that means that you do.

It seems that she was talking about some kid taken off of his skateboard, given the Sha"S in English to read, taught how to dress, to shuckle and to give a good speech. And, voila! You're a raaaaabbi.

Just for the record, I am all for providing kids on skateboards with Torah education. Better to let them keep their skateboards and provide them with a real Torah education, than to make him a pawn of some "raaaaabbi's" empire.

I felt sympathy for this woman. She didn't know much about Judaism. Not knowing is one thing. But she thought she did. And, I don't think she wanted anyone to tell differently. She's stuck,...like a lot of us are in various ways.

Where do these people come from? Oh, yeah, 2.000 years of galuth....

We are in big trouble spiritually.

(sigh)

6 comments:

Devash said...

Very entertaining. (Why do I hear 'Janice's' voice in my head?)
I'm sure you meant it in all seriousness, but it provided my first laugh of the day. Thanks! Unfortunately it's too true.

QuietusLeo said...

Why so pessimistic?

Bar Kochba said...

Yaakov, we can't simply cut off 2000 years of history in the Gola. Judaism was solidified in Galut. We were sent to Galut for a reason and now that the Geula has begun, we cannot simply forget about it.

What is it about Yiddish that irritates you so? It is a part of our history and our culture. I somehow feel that a Sephardic man speaking Ladino would bug you much less. Ladino and Yiddish were the life-blood of the Jewish nation in Galut, we lived in them, ate, conversed, learned, sang and died in them. It is a shame just to chuck them away. Our many different galuyoth has given us beautiful and variant customs. It can be quite an experience to go to a Lithuanian, or Greek, or Ethiopian or Iraqi shul. Should we just erase these customs now that we've come back to Eretz Yisrael?

No! Rather, let each community keep its nusach, keep its customs and enrich our Jewish heritage. Judaism really is diverse (and not the false Reform kind). As long as our beliefs remain true to true Torah Judaism, why should Yiddish or other customs bug you?

Ben-Yehudah said...

Devash, Hmmm.... Not sure who that is.

QL, Good question. Hmm... Christians, Yishma'elim, and Eruv Rav,...IN Israel.

BK,

Yaakov, we can't simply cut off 2000 years of history in the Gola.

Yes, and...?

Judaism was solidified in Galut.

Unfortunately. Time to start breaking apart and fixing it [finally] by removing all of the galuthi crap that snuck in.

We were sent to Galut for a reason

Yes. It's was a punishment. What's your point? It mean that we should keep and learn from the hochmath hagoyim, agreed. If you mean that and now that the Geula has begun, we cannot simply forget about it.

True. But hopefully, we will be able to let go of what we need to let go of.

What is it about Yiddish that irritates you so?

I'm not sure what makes you think that I have a problem with Yiddish [from this post]. If you're talking about the word shee'eer, the way that lady was pronouncing the word was not even close to any possible way I've heard it pronounced [properly] by Hungarians, Galitzianers, Likvaks/Yerushalmim, Yekkes. My transliteration does not do it justice.

My problem [as presented in this post] is not with Yiddush. It's with how people throw it around to pretend that they're frumer than thou, when most Yiddish speakers would look at them, and laugh.

It is a part of our history and our culture. I somehow feel that a Sephardic man speaking Ladino would bug you much less. Ladino and Yiddish were the life-blood of the Jewish nation in Galut, we lived in them, ate, conversed, learned, sang and died in them.

See above.

It is a shame just to chuck them away. Our many different galuyoth has given us beautiful and variant customs. It can be quite an experience to go to a Lithuanian, or Greek, or Ethiopian or Iraqi shul. Should we just erase these customs now that we've come back to Eretz Yisrael?

Actually, many of them yes. Food, no. Music, no. Poetry, no. blah, blah blah. Nusach Tefillah, yes.

No! Rather, let each community keep its nusach, keep its customs and enrich our Jewish heritage. Judaism really is diverse (and not the false Reform kind). As long as our beliefs remain true to true Torah Judaism, why should Yiddish or other customs bug you?

Again, Yiddish doesn't bug me per se. It bugs me how it's used. It is after all (in your own words) a language from Galuth. Eliezer Ben Yehudah's Hebrew is far from perfect. But it's a start.

One of the biggest myths of the last 300 years is that customs, like nusach tefillah move with us. They don't. We are supposed to follow minhagei hamaqom. We have examples all through the Talmud.

I challenge you to find a source for this. There are a few which people try to use, like two places in the Yerushalmi (which I won't get into here. But you can email me your interest) which talk about the importance of hutz laAretz keeping two days of yom tov even if they're sure of the exact date. The pasuq al titosh meTorath imecha" (Mishei 6:20) is also a popular one. Of course, that's not what those mean.

Even if you still buy into this idea, the customs of Eretz Yisrael take precedence. Even when a Jewish whose home is in EY, visits outside of EY, he still follows the customs of EY.

Bar Kochba said...

I guess I misunderstood your post. My point was that history did not begin in 1948. I do believe that much of Judaism has been distorted in galut in terms of "mercy" and "turn the other cheek" xian values trickling in. Halakha was not used to run a sovereign state for 2000 years so we need to make it applicable today.

I was in Venice last summer. We visited the medieval ghetto where there were 5 synagogues. There was an Ashkenazi synagogue, a Sephardic synagogue, an Italian synagogue and a few others because when Jewish refugees came to Venice they brought their nusach with them. When I meant keeping each community's nusach, I meant wording, tunes, special customs. I admit that I do not possess the yeshiva background that you have. I just think it is a shame to make our judaism monolithic.

Ben-Yehudah said...

Yes, BK, we're on the same page regarding our need to let go of many things from Galuth.

There are many psychological reasons for holding on nusach tefillah, but there is NO hallachic obligation to do so.

We must continue our investigation into what is authentically Jewish, and what is nonsense.

The first thing is location, location, location. Jews belong in Eretz Yisrael, with or w/o money, with or w/o a job or "degree."

We are supposed live our lives here, struggled through challenges here.

For information on how a Jewish Government might look, check out the "Jewish Governance" Audio Shi'urim at Machon Shilo.

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