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Life of Yeshiva Guys in Israel: Feeling the Heat

Life of Yeshiva Guys in Israel

A Pictorial, Vidorial, and Textorial Panorama of the Life of Yeshiva Guys in Eretz Yisroel (Israel). Join us as we discover Eretz Yisroel and all it has to offer Yeshiva Bochurim.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Feeling the Heat

Boom. “Fire”, someone screams! Bang. Its one o’clock in the morning, and we’re shpatziring down a street in Zichron Moshe area. When we hear the shout, we whip around. Someone on the street shouts again, “Fire”! I look up to see a conflagration erupt out of an abandoned building’s second story yawning mouths. Flames are leaping and licking out of them, and perched on a makeshift porch is a half man halfway dressed. He looks like he walked right out of a Hollywood set, dressed to play the part of a homeless, clotheless man begging on Second Avenue for pennies. He does have a white, now gray, undershirt on, but otherwise…People on the street begin screaming at him to come down; “Tayrid, adoni”. Nothin’ doin’. This guy’s home is going up, and he’s determined to go down with it. No one is sure of what to do. People running about, and I’m just standing there, taking it all in. Meanwhile, explosions of an unknown nature are taking place within the building.

(You can spot the scarring in the form of the black residue left on the wall of the building in the above picture. The porch referred to above is also the pictured one).

A fight erupts amongst the bochurim and crowd. Soon, an impromptu Halachic debate is taking place. The big question is whether or not to call the Fire Dep’t. You see, in Israel the fire squad that answers the call will most likely be composed of Yidden, thereby involving chillul Shabbos issues, aside from the call itself. Since the fire shows no signs of abating, and has the potential to spread and cause potential sakanas nefoshos, the decision is made to call the fire department.

By now, some quick thinking bochur has arranged a pair of pajama pants for the homeless fellow; after donning them in full view of the assemblage, he finally descends from his perch. Muttering all the while about the terrible forces that bombed his home.

And now the p’shat:

This building, located for the most part on Rechov Chofetz Chayim with a back door on Rechov Pri Chadash, has been abandoned ever since I came, and ever since the guys I know came. Inquiry among the old-timers of Pri Chadash yields the fascinating fact that in fact, this building was never occupied at all, due to the fact the municipalities' original building permit on it lapsed in middle of construction. Leaving the building empty, as well as available for emergency garbage disposal and other such worthwhile purposes. The local Yerushalmi kids use it as their version of the “Haunted House”. Which is actually quite wonderful, since I can’t imagine where else they’d burn off their excess energy.

One day, this enterprising homeless Jew decides that he needs to find an apartment. He shows up at this building, passes the entrance exam, and successfully wins the nomination to become chairman of the Building Committee. And he’s been there ever since. Until his home goes up in flames. So what happened?

Well, according to the best information available, this guy is a connoisseur of not merely your standard Marloboro fare, but indeed Marloboros Plus. V’hameivin yavin. Anyway, he is most likely familiar with the commandment to rest and enjoy Shabbos, so he attempts to fulfill it in the manner he knows best. And promptly passes out on his mattress, or what passes for it. Soon, the still lit joint starts burning a hole in the mattress, and the fire catches to the other assorted refuse in the shack. And the rest is history.

The fire department arrives, and soon after the Mishtara. Faint cries of “Shabbos” are heard in the background, but no one seriously challenges Jerusalem's Finest. The firemen put out the fire in a matter of minutes, and before you can daven a Yerushlayamir mincha all that remains are copious amounts of smoke pouring out of the cavernous second story openings. The policeman talks the nutjob, takes some notes on his dupe pad, talks to some of the crowd, and quickly disappears.

Now, all that is left are the black stains on the walls, a slightly hyper crowd, and our local nut job. He not-so-graciously thanks the two bochurim who saved his life (and donated a pair of pajama pants to him), and ambles off to parts unknown.

Postscript: I later overhear that he strolled into a random bochurim’s dira at 5AM, requesting a place to sleep. They bounced him out. I assume they had little desire for a no cost heating solution.

And that’s an average Friday in Geulah folks. Plenty of entertainment all around, a bit of Torah, some police action, and most importantly, a fire.

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