At this time last year, I voiced my chagrin at bochurim calling me on Superbowl Sunday and requesting that I sponsor their seder during the game.
I noted, correctly, that when I was a bochur “never once did I or my yeshivas ever ask for someone to donate to them because we kept regular sedarim.”
For some reason, this got some people up in arms. “You sound like you are very bitter at the Yeshivas and Rosh Yeshivas,” one commenter wrote. Another said that “nobody asked you. Go back to ur mothers basement.”
Putting aside the fact that these retorts to a serious letter are childish, they miss the point completely.
If you could rewind time to about 15-20 years ago, you might be surprised at what Lakewood looked like on Superbowl Sunday. Stores didn’t have “Superbowl Platters” or “Touchdown Platters” and whatever else they’re calling them nowadays. In yeshivos themselves, the Superbowl wasn’t a matter that was taken into account by the hanhala. Of course everyone knew about it, but there was an understanding that it didn’t matter and that we have spiritual pursuits to tend to.
But now, it’s bad enough that food establishments find it acceptable – and even necessary! – to make Superbowl menus. But what’s worse is that this day, this event, is a day of note in our yeshivos – inside our spiritual teivah! It is so much an event that matters in yeshivos that it’s “normal” for bochurim to be calling people to ask for money so that they don’t watch the game! It’s insane!
You can attack me all you want, but we are facing a reality where the outside world that we try to shelter our children from has seeped into our societal consciousness to the point that we don’t even realize that something is going on.
Bochurim asking me for a donation so they can party while not watching the Superbowl is deeply indicative of that problem. It’s a symptom of a much larger issue that we are all choosing to sweep under the rug.
THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS LETTER DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THOSE OF LAKEWOOD ALERTS. HAVE AN OPINION YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE? SEND IT TO US FOR REVIEW AT INFO@LAKEWOODALERTS.COM