A Night with the Bochurim – Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger


By Rabbi Yitzchok Hisiger

It was the first such event in Lakewood, NJ, but like those ubiquitous “inaugural annual” yeshiva parlor meetings, I feel comfortable tagging it as the First Annual Bochurim Simchas Bais Hashoeivah in Lakewood.

It will happen again.

Because there’s no reason it shouldn’t.

And there’s no good reason it didn’t happen before.

You just needed someone to identify the void and seek to fill it.

The ingredients were there:

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of bochurim.

Chol Hamoed Sukkos.

Bottled-up energy.

The bein hazemanim spirit.

A delicious recipe sure to please even the most discerning palate.

R’ Kalmy Katz jumped in. In no time, he had organized a Simchas Bais Hashoeivah for the bochurim of Lakewood.

I use the term “bochurim” loosely, because there were those present, like myself, who, while holding on to our bochurishe years for our dear lives and with such longing, have been forced to face the reality that we just ain’t teenagers anymore.

But standing shoulder to shoulder last night with those twenty years my junior in Bais Faiga’s Bais Anya Building in Lakewood, I was swept up in the joy of the moment no less than the young bnei Torah circling the room.

Tzitzis dangling, jackets flying, and hats – many with brims up, to the dismay of the brim-down activists out there – awkwardly perched on their bopping heads, the bochurim, from an array of yeshivos, linked hands and danced in step to the singing of the incomparable Shmueli Ungar and the music of Boruch Yida Gross.

These weren’t bochurim from one yeshiva, from one camp, from one chevra or group. They were from different groups and associations, bonded by their identities as yeshiva bochurim, nothing more.

So who arranged this event?

I asked around, just for the fun of it. I shook sweaty palms and asked out-of-breath adolescents.

Which yeshiva sponsored the program?

No one knew.

There were no signs, no posters, no dais, and no shtoltz.

Why were the bochurim there?

They couldn’t articulate it to me eloquently, but they didn’t need to. I got my answer from their non-verbal cues.

They were looking for this. Exactly this. The perfect ruach, the right atmosphere, an ambiance that was welcoming and loose, yet structured at the same time.

Rav Yeruchem Olshin delivered divrei hisorerus to begin the event. And then the crowds that filled the cavernous room got lost in a world of Yiddishe joy for two hours, dancing and singing.

The purity was brilliant. The pump was tangible.

Standing next to one of the organizers, I watched a baal habayis stroll into the building and then approach pensively. He wanted to know who arranged the event. When told that the music would end at 11 p.m., he asked what it would take – money? protektzia? – for it to continue for another hour, so taken was he by what he was witnessing – nay, what he was experiencing.

Upon hearing that the costs of the event were not yet covered, he whipped out his credit card, told my mate to put him down for a grand, and then turned back to the dancing bochurim so that he could soak in whatever was left of the evening, trying to bottle up the geshmak he was ingesting.

I, for one, was gratified to have brought along my eleven-year-old son, appreciative that he got to witness bochurim celebrating the joy of Yom Tov – and the simcha of life – with such wholesomeness and genuine elation. Last night he was a spectator. I look forward to the day when he’ll be an active participant.

Tzitzis dangling, jacket flying, and hat awkwardly perched on his head, perhaps even with the brim up, he’ll iy”H serve as another example of the beauty of Klal Yisroel’s yeshiva bochurim – pure, pristine, sincere and special.

The costs of this kiddush Hashem have not yet been fully paid for. To assist in covering the remainder of the expenses, please call 732-575-6817.





    • No such thing as misnagdim today and they’re not one step closer but act like Chassidim with their Roshei Yeshiva being Rebbe. Besides, most Litvishe (including Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a) come from chassidim.

      • There are definitely are Misnagdim today, especially in Lakewood, Ihr HaTeyreh.

        Rav Chaim Kanievsky’s mother was Litvish, אחות החזו”א, and his father was a Chasid who saw the light and became Litvish.

      • no such thing as misnagdim? then what do you call non chasidus? litvish?? because that is a bad term to be encompassing. seeing how someone who hails from austria, hungary, germany, poland, southern ukraine etc. would then fall under that rubric when mentioning litvish. and litvish itself is a location identifier itself. so it would lead to confusion.

    • And that’s not what you are looking forward to? Unity? Peace? The eighth day of creation? All study and no rejoice make dull Yeshiva boys.

      (A Goy)

  1. Very few people today who call themselves “Litvish” have ancestors who lived in Lita, and there were many Chasidim in Lita. In fact the Baal Hatanya was known among the talmidei HaMagid as R. Zalman der Litvak.

    • so were slonim and stolin etc. do you want me to list all the litvishe chasidim?( thats why its simpler to list non chasidim as misnagdim.)
      do you want to say today there isnt chassidim? because they adapted to talmud study?
      if someone wants to be a Chosid let them get a Rebbe. but whats the fascination with misnagdim adopting things like upsherin, uman, etc.

    • Many ‘Litvish’ today have non-Litvish, even Chasidic roots, or Sephardic.

      That show how attractive the Litvishe derech is, that others want to join it.

  2. The Steipler considered himself a novarodoker from a very young age.

    In either case, many thanks to the organizers of this event. My son had an exceptionally good time, came home uplifted and with renewed appreciation for the Rosh Yeshiva Torah. I assume this was arranged by/through Yeshiva. A groise shkoyach.


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