Rabbosai It’s Ellul

yom kippurI used to like mussar, the self improvement stuff that gets you off your feet and makes you realize you’ve been a real shitty person your entire life. Great, make me feel like crap for having a short temper, not cleaving to the Lord, and thinking about the skatepark during krias hatorah. Mussar takes two of the most important things in Judaism, guilt and character development, and allows Rabbis to project their misgivings upon you. I used to love it, until it started getting a bit ridiculous. [click to continue…]

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10 Prerequisites for Going OTD

off the derechThe frum community has a very defined list of requirements for those who would consider themselves part of the community; one has to keep Shabbos, kosher, taharas hamishpacha (that’s the set of rules that governs having sex through a hole in a sheet) and in most cases wear black and white.

The OTD community, too, has a set of requirements for inclusion into its community, and they are arguably even more extreme and are applied in a more heavy-handed manner.

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The Definitive Guide to Frum Cars

The Ultimate Yeshivishe CarI know a successful commercial realtor who leased a Lexus before closing his first deal; he knew he was going to meet the potential buyer and he knew his first impression had to kill, maiming or merely wounding was not going to get him the deal. So he went out and leased himself the Lexus knowing that it would close the deal for him, and it did! It closed that deal as well as many others.

Clearly the car we drive communicates important things about us.

I know a 12th grade magid shiur in a yeshivish place who has used cars offered to him all the time, but he will only take the oldest, most beat up looking station wagon, or Buick Century, because “s’possed nisht” for him to drive a nice car.

A big Lakewood askan, in a fit of insanity, once tried to start a campaign called “Accords for Acuras”, where all the tinsel gevirim in Lakewood would trade in their Acuras for Honda Accords. For “after all,” he argued “what’s an Acura but a glorified Accord, and it’s Yiddishe gelt mamish down the drain, money that our moisdes need very badly”. This being Fakewood, the campaign didn’t go anywhere.

So what does your car say about you? [click to continue…]

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Hilchos Ice Bucket Challenge

by Rabbi Yerachmiel Kalonymous Eiswasser

Rabbi Dov LipmanThe so-called Ice Bucket Challenge or Nisayon D’li Kerach in halachic terms has brought the machle (illness) ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) to the attention of Jew and gentile alike.

This time-honored minhag, referred to as ND”K from now on, was instituted in Chodesh Av 5774. However, our holy forefathers, zatsa”l, already knew the benefits of ice long before the Internet era.

Rav Saadiah Gaon would roll himself in the snow a thousand years ago in order to atone for his sins and do teshuvah. All the more so we, who are steeped in the sins of the 21st century and are entering the awe-inspiring month of Elul, should expose ourselves to the ND”K in order to cleanse ourselves from our impurity and impress our friends on Sefer Haponim (Facebook). As it says: “and I will pour upon you pure waters and you will be cleansed” (Ezekiel 36:25).

Below, I have outlined some shaayles that reached my desk with regards to ND”K. It is only a general guideline for study purposes. For practical guidance, especially if your 24 hours expire after 10 PM, please phone up your Local Orthodox Rabbi in the middle of the night, or send him a WhatsApp message (if you have a TAG filter in place, of course). [click to continue…]

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Blushing in Yeshiva

Standing in the library at the local community college, a frum friend of mine was struck by the conversation she overheard behind her.

Seminary Girls“Do you think Stacy’s hot?” One girl asked another.

“I think so,” replied the second.

“I think she’s ugly,” said the first, “would you sleep with her?”

“Yeah, I would sleep with her,” answered the second, “she’s smoking hot”.

“But that would mean that you’re gay,” said the first, “are you gay?”

“I’m not gay,” replied her friend, “I’m just saying I think she’s hot”

My friend does not look forward to spending the next two years in this environment, “I don’t want to hang out with such lowlifes,” she told me. [click to continue…]

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Yeshiva Ice Water Challenge

The internet is abuzz with the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge – everyone’s got an opinion on it, everyone knows they can find a way to show off their skills while having cold water dumped on their heads, everyone’s passing on the challenge to someone more choshuv than themselves in a bid to raise their social chashivus. And that’s all good, that’s how social philanthropy works.

In this vein NJ governor Chris Christie challenged Mark Zuckerberg, who in turn challenged Bill Gates.

Bill Gates showed us that he should have been a guillotine designer, while the OTD Godol, Rachmuna Litzlon showed us that he’s on Facebook even while having water poured over his head.

As you can see from my Facebook profile picture I am perpetually glued to my gemarah so I don’t have time for these social challenges, but I’m reminded of the time I had a cup of freezing cold water poured over my sleeping head. [click to continue…]

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Yeshiva Bais Mikra in Monsey is in the news again, and again it is for good reasons.

Bais Mikroh

Bais Mikroh

Almost two years ago a former student, Bomo Silver, who unfortunately for the Beis Mikrah leadership hasn’t yet gone OTD, wrote an open letter detailing the physical and mental abuse he suffered by the staff of Bais Mikroh. As should be expected from any self-respecting frum educational institution, some of their rebbeim joined in the comments section to continue the attacks against their student they had had to abandon after he graduated 8th grade. Unfortunately those rebbeim quickly discovered that their power to abuse people diminishes greatly after those people have stopped being frightened and helpless children in their classroom and they gave up.

But physical abuse wasn’t enough for Bais Mikroh, they wanted to join the big leagues like Satmar with their Nechemya Weberman, or New Square with their Taubenfeld brothers, so they had their principal, Rabbi Gavriel Bodenheimer arrested by the Rockland County’s special unit that investigates sex crimes against children.

It seems that instead of putting Rabbi Bodenheimer with the company he deserves, the anti-semitic press instead mentioned two non-Jewish teachers who were arrested for minor offenses such as drunken driving or exposing himself while driving in the Catskills. Every kollel yungerman exposes his collarbone while driving in the Catskills during bain hazmanim, that’s hardly a crime. Our menahalim reach for much greater heights and thus the only two sex-offending educators in Rockland County the press could compare him to were actually two fellow yidden. Boruch Hashem!

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Find out more about Rabbi Gavriel Bodenheimer and Bais Mikroh at 4torah.com

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