Sunday, April 1, 2007

Are You experienced? (the israel experience-week 1)

Well, here I am, in the Holy Land! The realization is just sinking in, and I've just got this constant feel of euphoria. Truth be told, I haven't really left the area where my yeshiva is located, but since I knew my readers were probably awaiting word from me on the other side of the pond, I fely compelled to venture out to this smoky internet cafe to say "shalom, y'all."
First things first, my flight was surprisingly uneventful, given my track record. It was an erev Shabbos flight, so there were less people than usual on the flight, and I was able to spread out a bit. At the baggage claim, however, I had a little bit of a problem. You see, my mother deided to give me all the suitcases that we had which were on their last legs, so as to finally get rid of them. We taped them up with industrial strength masking tape, and proceeded to stuff them with all the various flotsam I would need for my tenure in the Holy Land. Along with my underwear and bong, I packed my most crucial contraband that I owned: two giant blocks of yellow American cheese. In any event, the masking tape wasn't strong enough, and when I tried lifting my bag of the conveyor belt, my bag exploded, sending my underwear- and the cheese- flying in every direction.
Naturally, I dove to recover the cheese first.
Then, my newlywed brother and his bride picked me up, and they drove me to my sister's house for shabbos. Shabbos was beautiful, and all my neices are deliciously cute. It was on motzei shabbos that it occured to me that I forgot my Hamlatza (recommendation) letter, at home. his letter, usually written by your former Rosh Yeshiva, is a crucial part of getting into the Mir yeshiva. When you go to meet the Rosh Yeshiva, you hand it to him, and he scrutinizes it. Apparantly, or at least according to my newlywed brother, this is like commiting all three cardinal sins at once (i.e. shtupping a hindu priestess whle strangling her). We worked it out all right, though, but I must say that I almost lost control of my bowels when I met the esteemed Rosh Yeshiva. He's very daunting. Really.
The first day, I honestly felt like a fish out of water. Firstly, the sheer amount of guys over there, concentrated in one area is overwhelming. Add that with the fact that you have to wait in line to get into a shiur, wait in another line to get a seat, wait in line to get a chvrusa ( three times because there are three sedarim), wait in line to get a meal, and you get achy feet, dusty shoes, sore shins from people bumping into you, and lung cancer from the amount of cigs smoked every time you meet a guy you haven't seen "in years man, how you been? I'm stepping out for a smoke, wanna come?"
Fine. I've got it all settled, and the acclimation process is done.
So, I go to my brother's dira sunday night, and although I have a very bad sense of direction, I found it okay. the way back, though, I got really lost. Problem: at that time of evening, the only people around are little yerushalmi girls, and every time I tried asking directions, they just shreiked and ran away. Eventually, I found my way back, and I was only minimally late for night seder ( I will tell you my schedule one of these days).
Monday, I walk into this little alcove across from the mir. There's a bench in the back, and it's a good place to get out of the sun and smoke. Anyway, there's a chasiddishe/ yerushalmi dude sitting there, and he looks me over with that familiar foot to head once over they give all americans. Spotting my techeiles, he suddenly jumps up, and starts screaming " Breslav! Fuck! Fuck Breslav!", and he starts advancing at me with this maniacal, foaming look on his face. "Dude! What are you doing?" I try to protest, but he just keeps screaming at me, repeating that one english word that he can pronounce properly. Mind you, there are some five or six guys watching this, and no one does anything. "I'm not Breslav, man! Stop!" I scream at him. He stops. " Atah lo breslav?" he asks me. "No! Radzin! Geez!" He looks at me suspiciously. " Slicha" he says, and turns around and runs away.
The rest of the week wasn't all that exciting, and anyway, I gotta run. I'll try to keep you all posted on my experience here, but of course, my torah come first.
Peace, and hopefully you'll all be here to share the experience with me soon!
Originally posted Friday, 9 September 2005

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