Lakewood isn’t what it used to be

Dear Baruch,

By Shragi Getzel

It’s been a while since we last talked; I hope you’re doing well in Eretz Yisroel now. It’s been years since you’ve moved away from Lakewood and I wanted to let you know; you’re not missing anything. This whole town is overrun by baalebatim and machers who did not come here for BMG. People don’t listen to the Roshei Yeshiva anymore and just yesterday when I was davening shacharis in Satmar I heard four guys making fun of R’ Matisayu, it’s unbelievable, I don’t know why they don’t just move back to Flatbush.

Some of these baalebatim living here wouldn’t have dared show their faces during R’ Aaron’s times. These chevra drive around with no busha in their Lexuses and Acuras like they own the world. They wear cufflinks during the week and waste yiddeshe gelt on huge fancy houses far away from the original Lakewood, near the yeshiva.

The truth is these guys are making their way into yeshiva now too, by way of their kids. You now have youngeleit who drive leased cars, who aren’t really interested in learning; they just have to make their shvers proud that they have a son-in-law in kollel so they can’t leave. Their shvers could put their money to better use supporting serious b’nei toireh instead of supporting their sons-in-law fully plus leasing them fancy cars.

In the olden days when you saw someone hitching a ride, you picked him up and continued towards yeshiva, you didn’t ask where he was going, you knew. These days, you pick up a yeshiva bochur and you find out that he’s going to J2 Pizza. I don’t know who these bochurim’s parents are or why they sent them to learn in Lakewood but they should be sending them to out of town yeshivas where there are no pizza shops or other distractions, what kind of yungeleit will they grow up to be when they hang out at J2 on motzei Shabbos?

Anyways, to get to what’s really bothering me; there’s no appreciation for chessed in Lakewood anymore. I was recently on my way to yeshiva for second seder, driving up Rt 9. I saw a guy walking so I stopped to give him a ride. Next thing you know 20 cars are beeping behind me, one guy in brand new Honda Odyssey drives around me and stopped briefly by my window and yelled “if you’re gonna give someone a hitch, you can pull over to the side of the road” and flies away. What kind of chutzpah is that? I’m doing a mitzvah, I’m giving a guy a ride and he has the chutzpah to worry about whether I pull onto the side or stop where I am? It’s not as if he couldn’t go around me, which he obviously did without too much trouble. I think that he was truly upset that I was doing a chessed for someone, which is sad to think about all year but especially during Elul.

I’m really looking forward to bias moshiach so that I can finally join you in Eretz Yistoel because my wife won’t want to move there until then.



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