Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Three Amigos Go to Yeshiva

Survivors of Shmad - sort of
My Rebbe, R' Dovid Soloveitchik asked me to be a Shaliach and emphasize to the public what will happen if Yeshiva Bachurim are drafted into the army.  Well, three of my closest friends from high school were drafted, and they did not come back the same. They survived the Shmad. But there was something not quite right about the way they looked. (see photo) I dunno exactly what it was - they just somehow looked different.

I bring this up on this - the day of Purim (pronounced: Purim) - which is holiest day of the year; a day that surpasses even Yom Hakipurim (the Day of Atonement). I cannot emphasize enough the terrible consequences of joining the army. It really isn't funny!

Speaking of funny, I should point out that I don't know why so many people expect humor on this day... usually in the form of satire. But who says that satire must be the order of the day?! It was famed humorist and part time day trader Jean-Paul Sartre who once noted that sartire is indeed not what the doctor ordered when Purim falls on a Sunday in alternate leap years.

The point is that some things that are of vital existential  importance are NEVER discussed. Things like raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; bright copper kettles with warm woolen mittens.

I remember that in elementary school whenever we came across these subjects in Chumash our teachers used to skip them. Now, as an adult, I understand why and am embarrassed to say so. 

Speaking of Nichum Aveilim, more commonly known as making a Shiva call what better day to remind us about our own mortality than on this - the holiest day of the year. The day that a beautiful an a talented beauty queen was brutally murdered in a domestic incident. A Shas HaShmad followed which according to most Poskim was almost as bad as what we are going through today! 

In my meanderings around the globe paying Shiva calls to the needy, I have found that there is truly a lack of understanding and sensitivity about how to do this great Mitzvah properly.

Some people say the darnedest things - even if said unintentionally. Things that are hurtful to the bereaved. And though they can at times be very funny, it is absolutely forbidden to laugh at them. (SA 687:3 see MBD 10)

So as a public service, I am presenting the following instructional video. Watch and learn. And remember that the Gedolim said it is Assur to laugh.