Sunday, December 27, 2009

From the Man who Redefined what it Means to be Chasidish...

Succeeding Miserably
from the man who redefined what it means to be chasidish
(with only the most moderate of editing by your truly)
The obedient boy
A reluctant non-rebel
Freedom is his daydream
A glorious future awaits him

If he can do what's right

He lacks the courage to follow his mind
Like a bee flies about the window
Because he is afraid of darkness
Uncertainty and difficulties
Hopes that time will change things
The pieces will fall in place

They never do

Resigns his destiny to fate
Locks himself with invisible chains
Does everything he loathes
Beats and chokes his soul
Until it flies away and dies
Imprisons his intellect
Adjusts his scruples to match his appearance
And fakes the rest

He has settled down, his peers think

Alone, he walks among the crowd
Keeping his opinions to himself
Shying away from controversy
Biting his tongue

Raises children to worship bullshit
Lives a dull and meaningful life,
For purposes not worth a damn
A happy life, he thought

Old, broken, and ill
Lies on his deathbed
Feels like shit
Like Ivan Ilyich
Hasn't accomplished anything
Nothing to be proud of
Worked all his life to become The Unknown Citizen
And succeeded miserably
Oh! He won't go gentle into that good night

Or will he?

What's done is done
If he knew back then
How life would end
Perhaps he would have packed up,
And left

95 comments:

  1. That's quite the poem. Seems to me that brooding over the past is an activity best left to those who believe it can serve a purpose.

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  2. aha! but this poem broods over the future.

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  3. "What's done is done
    If he knew back then
    How life would end
    Perhaps he would have packed up,
    And left"

    Future imperfect?

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  4. The author of the poem isn't lying on his death bed. He's envisioning his death bed. The poem broods about future brooding about the past.

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  5. Ahh. So instead of brooding about the future's vision of the past (at least, the future's past), why not change?

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  6. perhaps that's the point of this poem.

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  7. what revisions? from what the original poet wrote?

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  8. That was just minor stuff, like making the words a little nicer. I wouldn't change the whole idea of the poem.

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  9. Re: the ending. There is a Russian joke. A man is emigrating from the former Soviet Union. He comes to whatever beaureu was responsible for kicking people out and is trying to decide where to go while looking at the globe. "Here, there is high crime. Here there is a war. Here economic depression. Here no religious freedom. Here no morality. Here they sell drugs. Here it's too hot. Here it's too cold. Excuse me, do you have a different globe?"

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  10. Or else he could just stay in USSR for the same price.

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  11. There a Russian saying: "It's good where we are not." (Some people add: "Why is it good there? Because we are not there.")

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  12. Tell me, is it depressing to be Russian?

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  13. Not at all. You view of how the world could be is so low that you're always positively surprised by Hashem's rachmonus.

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  14. Sheesh.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsW8XxRIFL0

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  15. Hmm.

    Starting 0:40: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmsjWZ00cxA

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  16. :) i like the poem. well written and very expressive.

    CA- lol. russians do have a sense of humor, if nothing else.

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  17. There are very few FFB bochurim who can read that poem without seeing themselves and those who don't aren't looking hard enough.

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  18. TRS: I thought I heard a Jewish version of that song and was trying to remember it. Then I realized i was remembering a version made by the westboro baptist church.

    Bochur: :)

    Modeh: it's not too late. You're still young. You can jump ship!

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  19. E, you're ENCOURAGING someone to fry out? Ya, that sounds like you. Reminds me of those super friendly nicely dressed missionaries who go door to door trying to recruit. I always thought that if I did fry out I'd go with them, they look really nice.

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  20. There is a phrase in someone's book (maybe it was Jaroslaw Hasek; or maybe Andrzei Sapkowski... in any event, one of the fellow Slavs): "If you're trying to commit a suicide, just hang yourself quietly in the stables. Don't cause a commotion."

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  21. That generally defeats the whole purpose of the suicide.

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  22. CA: beard? what?

    Altie: I don't want Modeh to lie on his deathbed and feel like ivan Ilyich.

    CA: This is isn't suicide! I've seen the light and want to share it with everyone else!

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  23. I thought the purpose of a suicide is to leave this lowly world.

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  24. CA- yes, BUT most ppl who commit suicide do it for attention, and spite, which does seem ironic because for that one minute of fame they are now gone forever. Huh.

    E- I agree, but truth be told, there are more paths in life then just 'on' or 'off' and just because 'off' works for you doesnt mean other people can't try to find a middle ground that fits better.

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  25. Before MBM can jump the ship, he needs to grow a beard.

    Re: light. That's what Jim Jones said.

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  26. Altie, I don't know. It makes sense to me to either be the frummest Jew you can be or a complete atheist.

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  27. CA, I agree that most of the time the 'all or notthing' approach can be applied, and I use that plenty in my life though I usually choose nothing, but I think towards Judaism it doesn't work. God wants. He wants a lot. not a little. BUT he will take a little if thats all you can give. So in my opinion, dont do either all or nothing. find the right level that works for you. thats what i believe.

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  28. ok SOMEONES gonna mock my words, so i'll do it 1st. yes i know god wants everything you have to offer. but its not like he kills you if you give less the that. plus that relationship is complicated.

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  29. It makes sense to me to either drive to NYC or to New Hamshire. Trying to drive to both at the same time is stupid (from where I am).

    Now, driving to NYC doesn't mean that you're in NYC. You could be somewhere in New Haven, for instance. But at least you're on the right highway.

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  30. Btw, e, I also intensely dislike using "lol" as a punctuation mark vs. a declaration of one's behavior.

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  31. you're saying theyre in two different directions? so, maybe you want to go to a city that lies in between both.
    CA, its beautiful to give examples that fir in your mind, but its not a clear cut thing.

    kid was brought up ffb. doesnt like religeon, too restricting. so he goes completely off.
    OR he goes a little down, chills out, trims his beard, wears a cool kippa, experiments, finds his place, and stays there.

    it is possible to be frum but not super frum, and not fryak. it is. just accept that.

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  32. Altie, I don't understand looking at Yiddishkeit as culture.

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  33. Culture? really. ok, then how do you look at it?

    So then you are gonna be one of those parents who are so freakin hard ass on your kids that you drive them away? either or all nothing, right? why cant u understand that for some people its not possible? are you gonna force your kids to go to shul and embrace a religioun that they hate?

    god forbid, i hope your kids find joy in it. but extremes are never good. ever.

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  34. Am I going to force my kids not to smoke? Not to take drugs? Not to do other things? I was never forced to do any of that. I was never told that it is wrong to steal. I was brought up in such a way that I knew it. And never wanted to.

    I don’t believe in walls. I believe in inner strength and conviction to do the right thing. And a person may be half-way towards the right thing, but at least he is walking in the right direction and knows his destination.

    Doing something half-way between what G-d wants from you and... what? I understand saying "it’s too hard". I don’t understand saying "this is ok for me".

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  35. My point is simple. Either you believe all of this is b/s (like e) — and then it makes sense to do nothing. Or you believe it’s truth. And that it makes sense to do everything. Ah, you may not have the power to do everything — fine, so, you’re working towards that. A frum person is someone who is growing in a certain direction, not someone who keeps a particular type of shchita.

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  36. Also, sometimes it’s fun to be a fundy.

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  37. As far as I can recall, Modeh has a pretty respectable beard.

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  38. If you can raise your kids by example, by inborn strength, and the knowledge to choose right from wrong, that is amazing, yasher koach. but what if you teach them and they still choose wrong? what then? it happens, thats reality.

    to admit that you are in a bad place in life but you are striving to be better is a good thing. to say that i like where i am and i dont want to be more frum, i dont know what that is, but ive heard it b4.

    the only thing i really agree with you on that life is a journy, you cant stay in one place, if you dont go up you go down. and yes, some ppl are lazy, or they fool themselves into believing that they like where they are in life.

    as to beliefs- thats a different story. i dont think that any fryak actually believes that it is bs. or that he does not believe in god. that is an impossibility. i think they are blinded.

    if you belive its the truth, you gotta do, which is hard. fine.

    and whats fundy?

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  39. Military school.

    Saying "I like where I am" is the only thing I have a problem with.

    When I was an atheist I was convinced that the whole Yiddishkeit is a baba maisa. And I had good reasons to believe that. I was not blind; my reasoning was very clear.

    A fundamentalist.

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  40. haha okay, I'm sure you're gonna make a great dad, and you're Russian, that's a plus.

    I'm sure your reasoning was great, but somhow somewhere along the line it must have changed. how do you explain that? all of a suddent you thought differently? or hey did judaism change?

    i like where i am is a lazy persons way out of doing, truthfully. but it works for some people.

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  41. IyH.

    More data.

    Being losers works for some people too.

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  42. not really.

    you are very similar to TRS.

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  43. How do you know I am not his alternate personality?

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  44. Cuz I met him. you cant pull that off.

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  45. You never met CA-how do you know we're not the same?

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  46. i have my ways, but unfortunately i cant tell you. it would look bad on my resume.

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  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  48. That just shows my brilliance. We've fooled the world so completely...

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  49. right ok, and im the only idiot who believed it.

    and WHY would you choose to be Russian in your alter ego? you can be anyone, boy!!

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  50. What does that mean? A Russian is a perfect alter ego.

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  51. No. Russian is high up there with France, Israel, and Canada. No.

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  52. Russians and Israelis — yeah, very similar. Except for dress code (no Russian would ever show up to a wedding wearing sandals).

    Russians and Canadians — probably similar in dress code.

    Russians and French — complete opposites. Except smoking.

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  53. To be fair, I dislike French more than I dislike Russians. Good for you.

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  54. Fortunes indeed smile upon me today.

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  55. Btw, I also dislike Russians. That’s why I hate Sheepshead Bay.

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  56. That's almost as bad as me saying I hate New Yorkers. Almost.

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  57. I hate men with tight pants, gelled hair, and a popped collar, no matter what culture. Well, I don't hate them, I just want to smack them them or perhaps throw water on them.

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  58. how bout paint them? and what is a popped collar?

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  59. Throw paint on them or do paintings OF them? The latter I would never do.
    A popped collar is a collar flipped up. It makes some folks look like vulturous draculas.

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  60. Are beardless people forbidden from frying out? How fry must one be to be able to take off his beard and still be allowed to continue frying out?

    Altie: your support for the I-like-where-I-am attitude makes sense from the perspective of one who believes and practices Judaism and wants others to do the same. Such a person might tell a "kid at risk," "If you don't want to give it all you've got, at least do what you're comfortable with." But for the "kid at risk" him/herself, this attitude makes no sense, as CA has pointed out.

    Sara: right. All the men you paint have to be butt naked.

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  61. I meant before one goes fry, one must experience what it really means to be frum.

    At least I think that's what I meant. It's a little hard to tell at this point.

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  62. i.e. only lubavs can fry out, because they're the only ones who have experienced true Judaism. Thanks for the permission.

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  63. Well, it wasn't permission as much as suggestion.

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  64. I shall take your suggestion.

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  65. It just makes sense for me to jump the ship if you've really been on the ship.

    I have to say: I don't really have a good grasp on the process of frying out. When I fried out in the past, I wasn't really frum to begin with.

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  66. Despite the fact that the conversation is now revolved around people frying out, I would like to point out that it's very rare we have a male nude model.

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  67. And why is that?

    Also, pointy collars are very suave.

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  68. point taken, Sara and the accompanying artists (who aren't hippies).

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  69. That's right, white boy.
    Altie-Why is what? Who were you talking to?
    Collared shirts usually have a point...the ones with pointy collars at least.

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  70. why no male models, and whats wrong with a point?

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  71. We have male models, they're just usually clothed.
    I have no problem with a "point," I simply think it's ridiculous to flip up one's shirt collar. With a coat on a cold day I have no reservation because the collar is protecting the neck from the cold, etc.
    I'm going to drop the topic.

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  72. "...dull, and meaningful life...
    ...unknown citizen"

    The truth can still lie there!

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  73. 1- Who said anything about frying out?
    2- I have a perfectly respectable dandruffy beard thank you very much.
    3- As any snag will tell you, lubavs can't fry out because they were never frum in the first place

    e:In hte rest of Judaism the beard goes before shmiras shabbos in lubavitch i think it seems to go after.

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  74. In the rest of Yiddishkeit, once you're not shomer Shabbos, du bist nisht kein Yid. In Lubavitch, you're still a Jew, you're mechalel Shabbos, and you know exactly what beheima you are.

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  75. CA: I don't think I'm a beheimah.

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  76. Do you have a beard? Had you been frum and mechalel Shabbos, you'd think you're a beheima.

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  77. In a bearded state I was mechalel shabbos and didn't feel like a beheimah.

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  78. it feels good to come back to blogging and find such a great comment thread waiting for me.
    e. - the very first time you were ever mechalel shabbos, you didnt even feel a little puppyish?

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  79. e, you're the proverbial exception that proves the rule.

    (Don't you hate it when people misuse this idea?)

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  80. The first time I was mechalel shabbos (I played tetris on my phone Friday night) I felt shocked by myself, like I wasn't aware of how powerful I am. I don't think that's guilt.

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  81. Cheerio: puppyish?

    e: that made you feel powerful?

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  82. scared and shocked. Like I didn't know i was capable of such craziness.

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  83. Indeed, I commented on the wrong blog.

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Forth shall ye all hold.