Monday, 9 May 2011

Wit and Wisdom of RYG #7

RYG had a knack for seeing through any "pretense". Anyone acting showy or hypocritical would often meet with his scorn.

Sometimes there was a bit of disconnect with the American boys, some of whom were "baalei teshuvah"

RYG was opposed to us wearing our tzitzit "out". Now these seemed odd, given that RYG himself wore his begged exposed.

Two caveats -
1. For him - a card-carrying yeshivishe, Aggudist, European Rav, [what we would today call Hareidi], it was OK. But for us American boys, we simply were not on that madreigah. If we were, we'd have been in Lakewood and Not YU.

2. He once explained to us why he wore his "arba kanfos" as he did. You see, he wore the begged over his shirt, with a vest over the begged. While his tzitzit indeed were "out" he claimed it was a function of wearing each tassel in its own corner, preserving "arba kanfot". When they were tucked in, the 4 corners were not usually well-preserved, because they tended to bunch together. This implied that wearing two tassels together on either side was a big no-no.

Now comes a visual story, with no memorable quip

One day at the end of shiur, before the next secular class began, in walked a young fellow * with long hair, an informal shirt [tee-shirt?], and Jean shorts - and his tztzit were showing

RYG looked him up-and-down. His expression varied from intense curiosity, to disapproval, to disbelief, to confusion. It was as if to say: "What is this creature in front of me?". To RYG, a young man with long hair and shorts was not a "bar hochi" to be wearing his tzitzit out.
And he muttered a few barely audible remarks and turned to us as if to say "can you believe this?"

* full disclosure. While I do not recall this fellow's name, I had met him before my YU
Days at an NCSY event. It seems to me that he was a sincere BT from the West Coast, who simply dressed in a laid-back way.


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