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Life of Yeshiva Guys in Israel: Goodbye, Reloaded

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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Goodbye, Reloaded

So I'm on a plane flying from one country to another. Like from Armenia to France. Or from Canada to Kenya. A mere transatlantic transposition, right? Except that it isn't. Not really. There are oceans of difference, actually, between traveling from Eretz Yisroel to anywhere else and a regular country change.

The difference is that apart from flying from end of the world to the other, I'm flying from one end of the emotional spectrum to the other. Notice how I said emotional spectrum, and not spiritual spectrum. That's an entirely different, although equally true, story, one which I spoke a little about here.

What do I mean by this "emotional shift"?

It's an amazing thing, really, how rarely I notice this after a year and a half of life in the Holiest City in the World. The danger. Or potential danger. Once in a while, perhaps, when bussing with an odd looking fellow who is doing something beyond the usual level of weird that passes for normal in this crazy, lovable country. Or maybe upon spotting a harmless group of Palestinian burqa clad ladies doing some peaceful shopping on Yaffo. The triggers can be wide and varied- if you've been here for any length of time no doubt you can identify a few yourself.

But for the last year or so, unlike when I first came, I am no longer daunted by the endemic soldiers and their accompanying rifles. I no longer am disturbed by the sight of a regular looking Jew with a long beard strolling down a side street of Geulah with the butt of a pistol peeking over his waistband, neatly framed by his t'chailes tzitzis. Today, the sound of jets overhead, or the steady beat of the whirling blades of military copters up above is no longer cause for consternation.

So I'll be leaving all these things I don't notice anymore that make like in Israel so unique. I'll be in a land where I can buy fruits and vegetables in a store without checking a teudah (cool, I know), and where words like ambience and decor can be found in the local restaurateur's parlance. To a city where I can no longer meander along a random street and bump into nine different nut stores, all with the same only slightly varied selection of pitzuchim and fruit leather.

As I sit here, pondering my shift in daily climate in the all too near future, I realize that these aren't good things. Both the fact that I've become desensitized to the above phenomena, and the fact that I won't be experiencing them for the next month or so. Here's why.

In those early salad days of mine, when I was, and felt like, a greener, the fine feline fellows that roam Jerusalem's streets had nothing on me. As I walked, my eyes would dart about, my every move geared for imminent disaster. Ashamed I am to admit this, but every so often I'd find myself lost in reverie-like dazes, deliberating the safest course of action one should take in a given emergency situation. Sharp noises, -commonplace enough in the capitol-of-Yeshivish-cars-Meah-Shearim- were enough to flip me out.

And what does any red blooded Yeshiva Bochur do when he flips out? How do most of us who have been raised in frum homes react when we flip out? We instinctively turn to Hashem.

So my thought process would go something like this. Walk onto number 2 bus. Spy a swarthy hombre who could pass for either an Israeli or an Arab. Get a little nervous. Fidget. Then...
"Uh oh. There's that weird looking dude sitting there in that seat...what's he doing there, under that Ha'aretz paper...is that thing black...metallic?...should I call the Mishtara...he might be a terrorist...no, get a grip...chill out---Hashem is with you, and if He wanted you dead you would be."

Realize that the above example of a Yeshiva Guy's cognitive daisy chain is by no means atypical. That would be a classic case of how most born and bred frum people might reflexively react to this sort of circumstance, with some variation or another.

Does this mean we are cheapening our Emunah, calling on it only to assuage our paranoia? Only when we need to comfort our inner delusional Chutznik? Perhaps. But the bottom line was that in those days, I was calling on Him so much more. He was an integral part of my daily life, back when the holy homeless men of Zichron Moshe used to frighten me. Now, not so much.

And I think I'm going to miss that.

Like a popular Jewish lecturer put it "Here in Yerushlayim, you gotta be much more careful what you do- G-d is only a local call away ".

And in America, He'll be a long distance call. Although I can talk to Him anywhere and anytime, I'll have to add that area code. And you want to know something... I'm already starting to miss it.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous IsraeliMom said...

Dear, if you were to make Aliyah and do your time in the IDF, you wouldn't give those guns, planes and whatnot the thought of the day ;)

Israel is fun and alive and it's the only Jewish country. I can see how you would miss it. It's not too late, you know ;) I'm sure you can find a nice shidduch here too... I have this cousin, about your age... ;)

October 19, 2009 at 10:37 PM  

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