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Der Zeger Yid (The Watch Jew)

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Life of Yeshiva Guys in Israel: Der Zeger Yid (The Watch Jew)

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.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Der Zeger Yid (The Watch Jew)

"The Time is...Now".

Ever meet one of Yerushalayim's holiest people? No, I don't mean the tzaddikim, gedolim, Rebbes, or any of the other immediate options that come to mind when thinking of Yerushalayim's kedoshim.

I mean the beggars, indigents, and other denizens of Yerushalayim's streets. These people roam the streets of Yerushalayim, going unnoticed, but providing all of us with daily opportunities at bettering ourselves.

Just this Shabbos, I had such an encounter of the first degree. Walking down Malchei Yisroel late Friday night, I observed the beggar whom I call "Zeger Yid" sitting at his usual Friday night post- on the green bench near the corner of Rechov Yosef ben Matisyahu. He was occupied with his usual activity- asking the varied passerby the same question, every five minutes or so. "Ir hut de zeger"? In English, that is "Do you have the time"? This innocuous question, framed by a grunt or two, somehow scares off most people, and they continue on past. A select few do pause, roll up their sleeve, and humor our Yid with an answer.

On this Shabbos evening, the weather was nice. I wasn't in any particular hurry, and decided to give this Yid a little time. So after walking directly up to his bench, I bravely sat myself down to his right. Silently, we both stared at the foot traffic for a minute or so. Then, in what must have been a first for him, I asked him; "Reb Yid, hust de zeger"? (Do you have the time"?). He answered me with a sidelong glance and a monosyllabic "Elef a'zeger" (Eleven O'clock).

A few minutes more of watching the passing people and I ventured a "Nu, vos is naies"? (Nu, what's news?). He grumbles an indecipherable something in answer. Oh much for the pearls of Torah I was hoping to hear from my Tzaddik Nistar. And then he surprises me. And there's a funny thing about this- you'd think I'd have acquired some sort of immune system that would protect me from being surprised by our people, our Yidden. But no- I haven't, or at least not as of yet.

He surprises me by requesting of me "Zug mir Tatzliach" (Wish me Success). The first time he said it in his unclear, hard to understand Yiddish I had to ask him to repeat himself. He did, and the second time around I understood him. He was asking me! to give him a brachah. I half whispered "Tatzliach", and looked away. But our holy beggar didn't give up. Again, he asked me "Zug mir Zeit Gezunt" (Tell me to Be Well). So again, I bentched him. And got up to leave before I got another request, the next one proving more difficult then the first two.

Of course, as I turned to take leave of this holy Jew, you know what I did, right?

I asked him..."Zug mir Tatzliach". And he did. And who knows- maybe I will be, but no doubt at the right time...after all, the brachah came from the beggar who should know all about timing.

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Anonymous lvnsm said...

It's very special to give people quality time, whether it's someone we know or don't know

September 7, 2009 at 1:14 AM  
Blogger Yeshiva Guy said...

Umm...I'll take that as a compliment. Thanks.

September 7, 2009 at 1:35 AM  

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