Thursday, December 31, 2009

The American Bochur

Speaking of America-
The main mashpia for the mesivta in Los Angeles is Rabbi Shanowitz.
Last year, he was speaking once with a boy in shiur beis, who was my chavrusa for gemara l'iyun.

For those of you who have never spoken to a yeshiva mashpia before, I better clarify something before we move on.

The mashpia calls you in to his office, but knows that most likely you will not suddenly break down and spill all your secrets and beg him to help you choose a more productive and chassidish way of life. So an inexperienced mashpia will just sit there staring at you, hoping you start talking. You do, by the way, but just to be polite. You don't want to hurt your mashpia's feelings and cause him to think he can't do his job.
A mashpia with just a little bit of experience and know-how will understand that to get you to speak about something serious, you must first be speaking at all. And sometimes, a sharp mashpia can pinpoint a problem as you are leaning back in your chair, rattling off your daily schedule and lunch menu.

Okay, now you're ready to continue.

So most mashpi'im will ask you who your chavrusahs are, what you are learning, etc.

In this boy's conversation with his mashpia, the topic therefore landed on your's truly.
My chavrusa told me later what the Rabbi said about me:

"You are very lucky to have Yossi as your chavrusah. He is a very good bochur. Perhaps not the wildest or 'fruchneyucht' (that's my word. I really don't know exactly what the Rabbi said, this was the basics...). Instead he is the epitome of an American Bochur. A good head, mekushar, likes to learn, but still has that American balei'batishkeit and mentality."
Or something like that.
It was an endearing compliment, with some sharp edges of truth that could cut me if I wasn't aware of them already.

I'm thinking about making a new series of dolls, based on the American Girl ones, but American Bochur dolls.