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Life of Yeshiva Guys in Israel: Sway

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.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


No, this isn't some Yeshiva Guy rendition of the Dean Martin song by the same name. Or even an article about me convincing some poor, lost soul to become Yeshivish. Nope, this post is a...poem. By me. Yup, if you're a fellow Yeshiva Guy, this isn't for you. And never bring this up again- I'd be that embarrassed about it.
If, on the other hand, you aren't a Yeshiva Bochur, by all means read the below terrible example of a Yeshiva Bochur's version of free verse- I know, it's form is a closer cousin to prose than poetry, but then again, if you were expecting dactylic hexameter you wouldn't be here. 
A word of background about the subject:
Typically, Yeshiva Bochurim, when either davening (praying) or learning Torah tend to "shockel" (Yiddish). Shockeling (verb of shockel) is a form of swaying back and forth, typically to a tune or to the famous niggun frequently employed when learning Gemara. Most cheder students ingrain this tune and the associated shockeling by osmosis before age eight or nine. For females, shockeling is less standard, although the extremely greased/yeshivishe ladies and Rebbetzins have been known to do so while in a particularly deep Shemona Esray. The below attempts to describe this scene or act.
I wish 
I could
Join them.
I watch 
Them. Endless rows
Of white shirts
On oak benches.
Wish I 
Could be
Together with 
Now, Booming debate
Thunderous resolution
By Rebbi.
And again, together
Jealous. Of
All the types.
Learning. Shteiging
But, I can
And now,
Finally. I 
Join them.
I. Am. 

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Anonymous IsraeliMom said...

I have a degree in, ahem, English literature, shall I'll take a swing (a sway?)...

The swaying is pretty interesting. I think it helps you focus, right? I think it's a bit like a form of meditation, in a way. I wonder if there's any research on the physiology of it all.

On another note, and not to interfere with your Shmirat Machshava... but as a scholar I would really be emphasizing the swinging element here. The element of going both ways, possibly being tempted by things on the sides, swaying between the two worlds, that kind of thing.

September 16, 2009 at 9:58 PM  
Anonymous lvnsm said...

I heard a mashal about the soul being like a flame that flickers.

Anyway, nice poem. I'm glad you got to join them

September 17, 2009 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Yeshiva Guy said...


It does; hopefully. In fact, although during prayer some would say that it isn't allowed (one is supposed to stand, motionless, like a slave before his master), our sources permit the swaying if/because it arouses greater concentration.

Interesting idea re the swaying. Hadn't thought of it that way. Thanks for the chiddush!

September 18, 2009 at 12:36 PM  
Blogger Yeshiva Guy said...


Thanks for the compliment and the sentiment.
I've also heard that moshel- I'm looking for a source for it. Will update here if I end up finding it.

September 18, 2009 at 12:37 PM  

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