I never thought I would enjoy learning, during high school I was in what they called the slow shiur, tghe dumb shiut or commonly referred to as the gimmel shiur. My shiur was full of kids who couldn’t wouldn’t or just didn’t know how to learn. I fought my father and hated sitting there with him between mincha and maariv on shabbosim when there was no shalashudos and today I am one of those people who really wants to learn, yet rarely does and then feels terrible about my lack of learning state.
The Rabbi from my shul in San Jose calls me up the other night and says “the seed boys are in town” and that he was going to put me down for a pre-mincha chavrusa on shabbos afternoon, fine, I’ll knock off an hour of my shabbos shluff to talk torah with some random dude from Queens who’s probably in a state of satisfied kiruv glee.
The funny thing about learning is that until a couple of years ago I never enjoyed it, but then I started to see the light, not only was the little learning I did whenever I sat down in shul and couldn’t focus on much besides the other side of the mechitzah incredible intellectual stimulation for me, but it also made perfect sense why I should be doing it. Despite the fact that I make fun of those oreos who sit and study the laws of oxen goring each other all day at the expenses of the in-laws, I actually do see the value in it. I can also see how ignorant I am from learning a simple piece of gemara or halacha.
If only I could take this amazing power of observation and poking fun and apply a small amoung of it to learning gemara – imagine where I’d be? Heck, maybe I could even make money doing it to, although I probably make more money as a cook than I would as a kollel dude.
Yes, I admit it, I learned mishna brura for an hour tonight and it stirred something in soul. In general, whenever I feel the need for some chizuk and some good mussar I spend shabbos in San Jose. Despite the fact that I set my alarm for 6:15 every morning I haven’t made it to shachris in over a month and that’s super lame, even more lame is the fact I set the snooze for 59 minutes – the yetzer harah seems to be pummeling the yetzer tov in that department. It’s not guilt by the way, I don’t like guilt, it’s more like “dude how are you gonna learn gemara with your kids” and things of a similar ilk, that would seriously suck if your kids knew more than you once they the 7th grade – may be one of the reasons we don’t teach girls gemara.
So I decided that I would try my darndest to attend shachris, hit up the Rabbis Monday night shiur on reform judaism (why it screwed us over or something very right wing of the sort) and Tomorrow my snooze is only for 10 minutes. For me and many others, our biggest problem is harnessing our divine inspiration, it ebbs and flows and dies until one day the yetzer tov breaks through the barrier of gashmius and gladdens our hearts again.
A few years ago I learned some gemara with a friend on shavuos and I was blown away at how interesting it was, now all I need is a super yeshivish chavrusa and in the Basy Area that’s not too easy to find – why yeshivish you ask? Because I kind of like the use of frecta, vitur and zuchta – although I don;t always agree with their ways I enjoy the yeshivish way of learning better than any other.