Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Unestablishment

Kudos to Heimishtown for a great post. Here it is in its entirety-anything added by me would just detract.
It wasn't very long ago, nor very far away. We believed in the version of Da'as Torah that belonged to neither the detractors nor the mouthpieces. We believed that one who spent his minutes, hours, days, life immersed in the study of Torah was both more knowledgeable in Torah, and also had the benefit of added kedushah due to that Torah-learning. We didn't believe in Kollel; not on a long-term basis, anyway. We believed that kids should support their parents, not the other way around. We were kids. And like most kids, we thought the powers that be were out to get us. It wasn't until we were much older that we understood that listening in on our classes was as much a way of affording us protection as it was a way to make sure we didn't disrupt the class. We understood that authority figures might, on occasion, be dysfunctional people. Of course we didn't know much about dysfunction, maybe not even the word, but we knew enough to understand that some people were on a power trip - and it was worth our while not to fuel it. We were kids. And we grew up with MBD and chazzanus and Ofra Haza and Kivi & Tuki and Shloime'leh. And more. We were kids. We could understand nuance, though. They said that talking to boys is a bad idea, but joked about the Rosh Yeshiva's daughter. When she got engaged, one of the guys called the father to wish him Mazel Tov. The Rosh Yeshiva called her to the phone - say, Chana'leh, this phone call's for you. It was okay to bend the rules a little, if you knew your limits. I wonder what's different. Is it a different era? Is it that my parents are two in a million? Yes, and yes, but I look at my peers and think that all of us grew up in a less rigid environment, a broader field. It wasn't Anti-Establishment, but it wasn't Establishment either. It was a middle road, and I think it was good.


At 10:51 AM, Blogger Air Time said...

JPT- I seem to be picking up on a trend here from your posts. You're not just upset at the gedolim. You're actually searching for more meaning out of your Judaism.

You want to know what happened to the black and white judaism of Darchei Torah, and why it was replaced with the gray-colored confused world of modern orthodoxy.

The flaw in heimishtown's posts is the same flaw we see in every aspect of our lives. When viewed from a childhood perspective, everything was idyllic.

Our parents were wonderful people who tried helping others and never had a bad thing to say about anyone. Or some other idealized version of them.

Few people sit around and say, you know, I wish I never saw any of my childhood buddies again.

We put those childhood relationships up on a pedestal, just as Heimishtown is putting his version of growing up yeshivish through a prism of glowing reflective reminiscense.

Want to hear my version of the same story heimishtown wrote.

I wasn't very long ago where we never trusted the Da'as Torah braintrust that ran our Yeshiva. Between going through our mail, raids to find music, radios and porn, they became the enemy, showing up whenever they wanted to raise some hell.

We saw Kollel people. Junior hanhalla members who would be happy to "snitch" if they saw you smiling, or god forbid, looking at a girl across the room at Markys.

We were force fed MBD and Miami Boys, because Shlock Rock was clearly Assur, and god forbid we should listen to something that we enjoyed.

We did understand nuance. We understood that if we dresssed the right way, talked the right way, and acted the right way in public, everything else could be forgiven.

It didn't matter what anything was like on the inside; all that mattered was the type of Kippah we wore, and that there were no pictures or logos on our T-shirts at any time.

Looking back, there is little difference between what we learned from the Da'as Torah that surrounded us as teens, and the Da'as Torah that we face in today's environment.

At 11:59 AM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

AT: Wow. That was a mouthful.

I'll agree that I'm searching for more meaning. I think everyone should, and if more did, we'd have fewer problems.

I'll also agree with you that in our yeshiva days, we were turned off more than turned on. I think the Heimishtown posting reminded me less of our high-school years and more like what I understand it was like in my parents' days. My grandfather was a talmid-chacham, a mirrer bochur, a business man and learned every day. He, however, was not hung up on kippa size or material, the color of your shirt, who you hung out with, etc. Rather he stressed avodas hashem, midos, honesty, limud torah etc. My mother, his daughter, grew up, went to movies, did not have to worry that she wouldn’t be accepted because she did not exclusively eat cholov yisrael and went to Stern College. Today, my mother will barely admit going to Stern for fear of the looks she will get amongst her current crowd.

I also think that it's the black & white that is prevalent today, and the days of yesteryear were more 'grey'. Yiddishkeit is not about black and white; it's grey and always will be. The problem is when the different shades of grey call themselves black and the others white. Following me here?

At 8:16 PM, Blogger Just Passing Through said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Post a Comment

<< Home