Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Mile at a Time.

Holidays are over and the vacation is coming towards a sunny end. I just came home from the traveling agency and got my ticket back to Ben Gurion. The three month long summer zman is less then a week away. Before I'll be able to scream 'Help' I'll already be in Israel, boiling hot and covered in sweat. Back to Israeli teenage life, back to the noisy streets packed with crammed Egged busses and smoking pressure cookers driving white Skoda cabs. Back to Malchei Yisrael, Geula and the Kotel Plaza, and lehavdil Burgers Bar, Sbarro and El Gaucho.

It wasn't raining when Noah built his ark, I got to plan ahead. There are a couple of options to pick from on the wonderful yet confusing, bitter-sweet menu called life.

For this zman's new resolution, I can return to the temimusdige path. The path I so blindly, yet so nicely used to follow just a couple of years ago. I could start sitting on those wooden benches in the beis medrash, sitting by an open gemoro all day long. No faking; just simple, real and genuine learning. I'll start putting tefilin on every single morning, and I'll start praying with a minyan. Praying nicely, at normal times. Not like the 3 minute afternoon shacharis I'm so used to. No more town, no more girls and no more movies. Goodbye internet, goodbye MTV. I wont hang out in town any more, I wont party with the old gang any longer.

On the other hand, how much I preach and cry about it only being a tiny dot away, I still haven't yet managed to convince myself entirely. One voice in my young head tells me to stop, the other innocently whispers "Yingele, just go ahead". I don't think I want to leave the internet, say goodbye to the girls and hand in my cellphone. Yet.

So should I get onto that plane with a prepared mission of partying my head off all summer? Should I decide, here and now, to have a blast this zman? I can continue - not learning properly, not praying and not changing. I can continue to go where I want, do what I want and dress how I want. I can take every day like it's my last - in the goyshe sense.

But, will all this running be worth it? If I'll just follow my desires, without thought, without a pinch of responsibility... Will it have the snowball effect? Will I be so blind and drunk from our worldly pleasures, I wont have a second to think about me, myself, I and my life? My mind wont be mine anymore, my self-control would be gone. I will feel totally lost. I will be totally lost. Besides, it's not right for me to put my lugagge on that belt, with the mental image of drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll.

The more I think about it, the scarier it becomes. Sometimes I feel like I'm being dragged down, totally confused - living life in a wild and powerfull whirlpool. I think I'll just use Dominic Toretto's wise words. I live my life a quarter mile at a time, nothing else matters, for those ten seconds or less, I'm free.


  • yingle what ever way you go take one step at a time up the yellow brick road but please DUMP THOOSE RED PANTS!!

    By Anonymous sling them pants..., at Friday, May 06, 2005 12:00:00 AM  

  • If you are just going to party, why bother going to EY in the first place?

    You can have a lot more fun here.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, May 06, 2005 1:09:00 AM  

  • At the end of the film I really thought they were gonna get crushed by the train - that would've been a great ending. You have to watch that film with surround sound and the bass all the way up to 11. The only way.

    Yingster, I'm not a preacher, merely his son. Maybe I'm the only one who can teach you? (song quote, in case u were wondering). It sounds like u r at a crossroads. Try and find a balance, I'm sure you'd agree (in theory) that learning is important and crucial, esp at your stage. You can learn seriously, make davening quite often, go out sometimes for a movie, a burger's bar (was the lehavdil maalin bekodesh?!?) and hanging out as well when you need to. I think it's worth a try.


    By Blogger The Rabbi's Kid, at Friday, May 06, 2005 1:39:00 AM  

  • I was going to suggest what TRK did, and have to agree with him. Do what you know is best, but dont go cold turkey coz it wont work. Set yourself reasonable goals, with a reasonable time frame. If it doesnt work, dont dispair, just carry on.

    By Blogger Karl, at Friday, May 06, 2005 2:29:00 AM  

  • When I read your words I could feel the repeat heart beet of my heart of how I use to feel at the start of every smon and before leaving home. It also reminded me of how I use to feel at that time that the only two items on the menu are the two extremes; and therefore failed to ever find the balance. But by the time I get on the plane and found watching the film irresistible, and then got the funny looks form my fallow bouchrem passengers I felt I blow it all and from there all went down hill. All I can say is the same as the two smart guys above me; that azah he darech shuvcher lo hodem, darech hamzouis (wants the path a man should chose to follow; the middle way).

    Either way you end up going I wish you much luck, and even if you choose to leave the blog world behind you, u will have enriched us with some very nice blogs. The main thing is casak vemoz (be strong man)

    By Blogger LostSpirit, at Friday, May 06, 2005 5:22:00 AM  

  • Oh boy.

    Girls are not evil.
    Town is not evil.
    Movies are not evil.
    Cellphones are not evil.
    The internet is not evil.

    Even if you don't give up learning or a committed halachic life, you have to realize that these crazy ways they want you to view the world are not good for you. Viewing it all as a temptation only makes it a harder struggle that you'll eventually lose and then be eaten up by guilt for.

    By Anonymous The Hedyot, at Friday, May 06, 2005 10:52:00 AM  

  • Ok ok ok, no red pants. ;-)

    Anon -. Parents think I learn all day. 2. Parents will be on my head all day.

    Kid, Karl, Spirit, - Thanks for your help. I'll try and pick an easy middle way. Have totally no clue what that is, though. Any suggestions on how, what and when?

    Hedyot - But it stil comes with the guilt of cheating behind parents' back...

    By Blogger yingele, at Friday, May 06, 2005 11:43:00 AM  

  • Uh oh!

    Extremes are no good, no good at all.

    You try glueing yourself to the gemorah, and it'l last five minutes.

    Everything in moderation. including the girls and the movies. That'l keep you on the straight and narrow.

    By Blogger Frummer?????, at Friday, May 06, 2005 12:07:00 PM  

  • Like the other guys comments but in my words, its just a few years or less till you get married keep a low profile, try and learn as much as you can but never the less make sure you enjoy your self in your spare time. You won't regret it Shiduchim will be easier & you will be building your life on solid foundations. I’m speaking from personal experience. From your posts one can see that you are good at heart, don’t take some of the brainless advice like “girls are not bad” a Bochur has a higher level of temptation in life. Control your self for a while, afterwards you will be laughing.

    By Blogger Joe, at Friday, May 06, 2005 1:38:00 PM  

  • and don't just learn gemera. Learn some nach and machshava too!

    Really, these years are very valuable. When you are older, you will want to be able to follow your own path, and it will help if you do that as someone with a well rounded traditonal background.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Friday, May 06, 2005 4:46:00 PM  

  • Yingele, just remember if you force yourself to do this during a school year, then when there is no more school you will never force yourself. Take the time to see what your do feel connected with, which things you think you beleive in strongly, and how much, come to terms with how much and of what you want to be in your own spirtual quest in life.

    If not, and you just do it cause people are looking, when no one is lookng you will have no spirtuality at all.

    By Blogger Chaim, at Friday, May 06, 2005 5:18:00 PM  

  • My two cents:

    Try to be serious about learning and davening. Nothing wrong with missing "seder laila" once in a while to have pizza, felafel, burgers, or whatever with friends.

    Girls are not evil, that's for sure. But until you are ready for shiduchim, you should really have nothing to do with them. This is Shulchan Aruch and common sense. For your own good and for their own good.

    Internet is a microcosm of the real world. Just like you have to learn not to visit bad places in the real world, the same thing applies on line.

    The cellphone is a great invention when used properly.

    With regards to the red pants: Since these are your jogging pants, don't get rid of them, unless you find better ones. Jogging is a commendable activity that I wish I did more of.

    By Blogger Cosmic X, at Sunday, May 08, 2005 3:11:00 PM  

  • What a struggle. I really feel for you. *hugs*

    By Blogger Jen, at Monday, May 09, 2005 12:01:00 AM  

  • Frummer - I'll try and pick the golden middle way.

    Joe - I want to control myself, I try to control myself. But, it's ever so hard...

    Anon - That's a very true point. I used to learn mussar and chassidishe sforim all day. I just liked the 'warmth' found in them, if you can call it that way. "How can this shaigetz not open a gemoro all day, but learn rebbe reb elimelech" was echoing through the beis medrash. Needless to say, that was the end of it.

    L-o-R - I agree. That's why I Positive rewards, when educating children, is much more effective then Negative punishment. In my current situation I could do what I want, when I want. So even if I will behave it won't be to impress anyone.

    Jen - Thanks for your cyber hug ;-)

    By Blogger yingele, at Monday, May 09, 2005 10:09:00 AM  

  • I don't think full-time learning is really for you, you need some physical activity to give you a reason to get up in the morning and to be tired enough to go to sleep at night. Take back the plane ticket and go look for a JOB. Preferably something that will give you some work for your body and your mind, but at this point I think physical labor (that's right, schlep work) would do you an immense amount of good. Get up early, daven with a workingman's minyan,go to a shiur if you want. Put in a full day of work and you can play, if you still want to, in the evening. (But not all night, or you'll be useless at work the next day.) And if you want to learn after a summer of work, pay some of your own expenses. Act like a man and you just might become one.

    By Blogger tuesdaywishes, at Monday, May 09, 2005 10:57:00 PM  

  • all - or - nothing is a christian idea, not jewish. that which you don't do correctly doesn't devalue that which you do. the jew who cannot resist bacon will still be rewarded for eating it with a coke instead of a milkshake. farshteist?

    hoping to see ya back in j-lm soon. or are you here already? drop me a line, please.

    By Blogger Josh, at Monday, May 09, 2005 11:23:00 PM  

  • Tuesday - Me working, especially at home, will kill off my parents. I can't do it to them. Oh, why does the phisical sweat have to come from hard work? Isn't gym and sport fine too?


    By Blogger yingele, at Tuesday, May 10, 2005 12:04:00 AM  

  • Josh - Once again have you enlightened me, being able to see through a clear window.

    By Blogger yingele, at Tuesday, May 10, 2005 12:06:00 AM  

  • Why would working "kill off" your parents? Relative to MTV, the Iternet, and what ever other sources of bitul torah you've tasted, honest work should be an idea they could get used to. If being at home is the problem, maybe a camp job? You would at least be away from many of your temptations.

    As for sweat from 'working' as opposed to 'working out', it's a matter of practicality. Do you really have the self-discipline it takes to stick to a physical training regimen? And if you do, why can't you apply that to your spiritual life?

    PS. Getting paid for what you do is a powerful booster for your self-esteem.

    By Blogger tuesdaywishes, at Tuesday, May 10, 2005 6:09:00 AM  

  • Tuesday - Their lil' darling yingele working?! They don't know what I'm up to in Israel.

    It's much easyer to practise self-discipline to stick to a physical training, than to something your yetser horah is telling you to stop.

    By Blogger yingele, at Tuesday, May 10, 2005 11:20:00 AM  

  • So you listened to me? you go to the gym?

    By Blogger fluffykneidle, at Tuesday, May 10, 2005 7:49:00 PM  

  • Are you sure you are giving your parents enough credit? They've got to be pretty smart, since they managed to raise you. I'll bet they DO know quite a bit of what you've been up to, and are eating their hearts out over it, as well as saying Tehillim for the reformation of your soul, or at least your behavior. Does your dad work? If he does, he might be in favor of you trying "Torah Im Derech Eretz".
    My son, age 15, goes to Daf Yomi. (His idea, not mine) I'm not convinced that he gets all that much learning out if it, but to spend the first hour of the day with the Gemara and with men who are "Kovei Itim" for it has to eventually have some impact. Even if you aren't learning full-time you can still have a day structured by Torah.

    By Blogger tuesdaywishes, at Wednesday, May 11, 2005 6:31:00 AM  

  • Yup Fluffy, you where so right. You can't imagine how much good it did to me.

    Tuesday - A 15 year old learns daf hayomi. Wow! May you have allot of naches.

    I'm back in Israel. Tomorrow the chavruses and Rabbi's are starting again. I'll try and live a torah structured day. I'll try my best and I wont let the bad devalue the good. I'll take every minute at a time, if I'm already sitting in shul with a gemoro, why not learn? My best I'll try, I hope I'll succeed.

    By Blogger yingele, at Wednesday, May 11, 2005 2:29:00 PM  

  • yingel wishing loads of hatzlocha and most important of all keep everything in perspective and if all goes horridly wrong remember lost is building a room for you
    all the best

    By Blogger ghetto, at Friday, May 13, 2005 12:54:00 PM  

  • Come on Yingle u can do it!!

    By Blogger Joe, at Friday, May 13, 2005 1:06:00 PM  

  • Thanks ghetto - I just hope the building is going fast. Boyre Oylom Bekinyon, Hashlem Ze Habinyon ;-)

    Thank you Joe for your encouragement. I'll Just Do It.

    Sorry for not posting in a while, but was busy setting up chavruses, shiurim and, lehavdil, parties and fireworks. It's nice starting the summer with colored lights, smoke, and crackling noise. ;-)

    Ill be posting next week like normal.

    Have a great shabbos!


    By Blogger yingele, at Friday, May 13, 2005 1:56:00 PM  

  • Ying......
    I just finished reading your latest postings and all the comments. I think that you have to crunch the numbers, make a spreadsheet - first, decided what ty[e of a life you want when you do get married, what type of a girl would you be happy to be with. If the answer is, a frum girl, who is cool, but comes from a good home (that'll please your parents - but you gotta please yourself first) then you have to realize that such is a girl will not consent to be set up on a date with a guy who partied around in Israel, instead of learning.
    Determine your goals for the future - and then see how to achieve them. It can be anything! you don't have to sit and learn all day - but since you're torn between 2 wants - learn some, enjoy life some - and remember - there is no black and white - grey is good too. Stick to the Yellow Brick Road.......you'll get to see the Wizard!

    By Blogger Margaritagirrl, at Friday, May 13, 2005 8:23:00 PM  

  • Hi Ying! Just stumbled upon your blog, read your latest post & it really hit home, since everything you're describing is all so similar to feelings I've had over these past few years. Just wanted to wish you lots and lots of hatzlacha!!!
    I'm still on my journey of struggling to figure out how to live my life, but one thing I have learned is that all the other stuff may be fun, but the ultimate enjoyment and fullfullment in life comes from being frum. Like you, I come from a very rigidly religious background which stressed doing everything to extremes, rather than understanding & feeling a connection to torah and G-d. I've got a long long way to go, but what I find helps me grow is developing that connection, and growing closer to Hashem in my own personal way. Also doing what's right does NOT mean having no fun. There are ways to have a great time without doing "bad" things.
    That's my 2 cents.
    All the best!!

    By Blogger survivor, at Friday, May 13, 2005 9:01:00 PM  

  • survivor is ABSOLUTELY right. Being frum does not mean that you can't have fun. It's really a tough journey, and I can see from all the posts that many of us are trying to figure it out.....but it's so true that real fulfillment comes from a close connection to Hashem (each in his own personal way) and a belief and faith in our religion. Just to read the stories of the Tzadikim in past generations; how they kept the faith in the toughest times...is an inspiration.
    I hope we all get there.

    By Blogger Margaritagirrl, at Friday, May 13, 2005 9:32:00 PM  

  • MGirl - Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed it ;-)
    The problem is... I don't know what girl I want. I don't know how I want to live my life.

    Ok ok ok. I exgagerated. I used to have a goal: To be sitting on the head table, wearing a silver beketche with strokes and having a 10 floor parentche on each side. I was like 14-15 back then, how naive lol.

    I know what I want to be, yet it seems so far away. It seems so hard, I just give up.

    Indeed there are many nice shades of grey. I'll try and stay with the middle way, and continue aiming to finally see the Wizard.

    Survivor - Thank you for your 0.02 $. It's nice knowing that I am not the only one.

    You both mention "and growing closer to Hashem". If only I would know what that means...


    By Blogger yingele, at Saturday, May 14, 2005 9:39:00 PM  

  • Ying, let us know how it's going... I wish I could give you the secret to finding the right balance in that dubious 'grey area', but I'm still working on it myself... I do know from experience that the cold turkey approach is not for me, but I have yet to find a better approach... In the meantime, I'm just taking each day as it comes...
    Waiting for news from the Holy Land - a (till now) silent visitor...

    By Anonymous Chai, at Sunday, May 15, 2005 5:05:00 AM  

  • Hi Chai. Thank you for your kind words.

    Here all is fine. I started the Zman with a party, music and crackling fireworks. It's fun starting the summer with a beat!

    Ok, re learning. I am learning 2 hours in the morning, 2 in the afternoon and another 2 at night. Subtract all the shmoozing. ;-)

    I'll start going to a daily one hour shiur, but not sure if and how it will work out.

    Thanks for asking, and hoping for a great summer!


    By Blogger yingele, at Sunday, May 15, 2005 4:10:00 PM  

  • follow the ways of your ancestors they are tried and tested and they work.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, May 19, 2005 4:55:00 PM  

  • Anon - Great suggestion. Not. Would you like to clarify?

    By Blogger yingele, at Thursday, May 19, 2005 10:54:00 PM  

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