Tuesday, July 06, 2004

See how they run

Twenty years ago the day I went to the cinema for the first time. I think it was Footloose I saw. And to me it seemed like it was talking directly to me. A story of one boy’s fight with all the elders of the town to bring music to the youth. When I look back at me then I see exactly what the young shaigetz of today must be seeing and I understand exactly where they are coming from. But I have to add that there is a difference. The shaigetz of today has no passion for revolution, no urge to tear down walls. The shaigetz of today is wallowing in self-pity and indulging in self-destruction.

We have in our zeal created a monster called Heimishkeit. An all-encompassing mind control that freezes individuality, stifles creativity and strangles independence. We taught an entire generation that we the Heimishe know everything best and have therefore negated all knowledge from outside. We ourselves therefore know best how children should be educated and if modern psychology suggests different ‘we know who knows best’. We also know that people are incapable of self-control and therefore anything that might tempt them must be banned altogether. That is why universities are treif and learning of any kind other than holy are out.

Although I would not be classed a real shaigetz by most people who know me today I was at one time. Although that has all but been forgotten by most I flatter myself that I came out better for the fight. I know I could never have achieved what I have if I had always been a good little boy and I feel a good Jew inside. True there is a tinge of guilt that lurks around inside, occasionally sending little twinges out to remind me it’s there. But that is a small price to pay for what I do have.

Unfortunately the system that backfired so spectacularly with guys my age, has worked perfectly with the victims of today. They have come off the conveyor belt disillusioned, hopeless, helpless and lost. They will not become the leaders of tomorrow because they have neither the wisdom of the Tzaddikim nor the knowledge and experience of the Shgatzim. So they effectively self-destruct, either literally or by leaving the community altogether.

So this is a call to you youngsters hanging around trying to look cool. Don’t believe those Rebbes who taught you that they know best what Yiddishkeit is all about. If you think you know what is best for you and you feel God’s ok with it, then go ahead and do it and settle the bill with him. But do it inside and let the naysayers be damned. One day there will be a day of reckoning and my bets are firmly on one side.

This is also your answer you of those recent mails.

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