By Yeshiva Guy
At the beginning of every zeman, a traditional confusion reigns supreme. Chaos is the order of the day- and night- sedorim. The streets in front of whichever yeshiva you may be observing ebb and flow with a steady stream of bochurim. Tummul is here.
Those of you familiar with the yeshiva system may want to skip this post; I have nothing new to add to Tummul- it stands on its own as an epic epsiode in the life of us bochurim. For those of you who haven’t went through the system, or are new to the Beis Midrash scene, this matzav may be of interest.
The Tummul, like Yeshiva life itself, centers around the chavrusa. Nothing else in the Yeshiva world affects your learning experience as much as your chavrusa. He’s the guy that’s going to be learning with you for three, four, or even five hours a day (different sedorim get different chavrusos). He’s the fellow that you will be engaging in debate for those five hours. And he is also the guy that will pump you up to keep shteiging on days when it just isn’t k’nocking. And when all is said and done, he may even become your friend. Bottom line: It’s awfully important to secure a chavrusa who is both on your level (or a little bit above); relates to you- and more importantly, your Torah; is serious about sedorim (comes on time); and ideally, is a nice guy. Because, really, who wants to learn with a shmoger?
Now that we’ve established how important it is to have a top-notch chavrusa, the question is, how to get one? In yeshiva, there are three sedorim a day. Each requires its own chavrusa. So how to pair up eight hundred bochurim and hundreds more of yungeleit with a chavrusa?
The entire yeshiva packs out into the street and has fun for two days straight. Or so it seems to the casual observer. What is truly happening is a tremendous amount of research. Everyone needs to find out about the other guy- if he’s “good in learning” and the other items listed above. To that end, guys subscribe to a special service that maintains a database on all bochurim in all yeshivos. Joking. Actually, the situation is remarkably similar to the shidduch scene. Everything you’ve ever done or learnt is under investigation. Had a bad zman a couple years ago? Tough luck- your “sheim” is messed up irreparably. Skipped seder more than a few times last zman? Don’t expect a good chavrusa this one.
Try to imagine hundreds (or thousands, depending on the yeshiva) of guys jamming the small street, schmoozing with each other about fellow bochurim. And once you think you want to learn with a particular fellow, you’d think you could just ask him, right? Nope. Like shidduchim, one must contract a shadchan. This shadchan in turn will go over to the bochur in question and extol your many, or few, virtues. After which the potential chavrusa will attempt to dig up dirt on you, before agreeing to the match. Assuming he does not find out any negative info, and hopefully finds good information, bang! You’re in business. For one seder.
And then the whole thing starts again…for second seder, and again for night seder.
I’m not even going to get into seats tummul- that’s an entirely different story for another time…or zman.