Taking a look around the beis medrish I was seated in on shavuos night I noticed an interesting phenomena, most of the guys were not learning. In fact many of the guys didn’t even have seforim open to make it appear as they were learning. I learned for about 1 hour before the age old past time of schmoozing over an open gemara kicked in- though I was surprised I made it that far. Shavuos for me was spent in Rochester, and I decided to go to the yeshiva and learn. Unfortunately when you put yourself in a place where you know a bunch of folks, the learning tends to be scant.
Shavuos night learning can be broken down into three main categories. The folks who actually learn all night, they can be seen hunched over a gemara with a few other books near by, usually a Jastro is lying off to the side and a cup of soda. This crowd seems oblivious to the goings on of the beis medrish. This crowd also includes the folks who pace back and forth thumb dipping and hocking with themselves as they try and darshun on their own, while giving everyone around them a nice breeze.
Then you have the half learners- half schmoozers. This crowd tends to learn b’chavrusa making prevention of the inevitable schmoozing nearly impossible, 30 minutes of learning is followed by 30 minutes of wandering around to the other half learners tables. Much of the learning time is spent talking about different seforim and grabbing stuff off the shelves.
Then of course you have the schmoozer crowd, these folks intend on learning, but the initial conversations when kicking into gear spread and eventually the learning is long forgotten in a string of useless discussions usually centered around who has the best cheese cake. Within this category there are two subgroups, those who have the seforim and pretend to be learning and those who have no seforim and think that sitting in the beis medrish will give them torah residue. To break it down even more- there are the folks who don’t actually make it all the way to the beis medrish but rather catch whoever is on a bathroom break in quick conversations. These would usually be the younger guys who love shavuos because it gives them an excuse to smoke and stay up all night drunk, without getting in trouble.
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