The Matzav Shmoooze: Not All Yidden Are Equal


Dear Editor,

Driving southbound on the FDR approaching the Brooklyn Bridge. The right lane is backed up. My einikel tells me, “Zaidy let’s go in the left lane and cut in at the end; everyone does it. We are going to be stuck here 15 minutes.”

I responded with an incident I had with my Rosh Yeshiva many years ago. I was in the yeshiva camp for the summer and many bachurim would take off the tzitzis when playing basketball (so the tzitzis  shouldn’t get sweat wet). When the Rosh Yeshiva saw me without tzitzis, he called me over and said a “uniform is not a shulchan aruch; just because they are dressed like bnai toirah, doesn’t mean its right”. Fun dir mant men mehr.

Too often bnai torah improperly follow the standard, poik chazi mai avid ama debar.  What’s good for the goose may NOT be good for the Gander. If someone iz angezapt mit toirah mitvos and maasim toivim; vas yener tit maint garnisht. Like the Rosh Yeshiva said, vas fadert men fun mir. 

My enikel got a lesson for a lifetime.


  1. So true! We have this herd mentality. We need to distinguish ourselves by doing what is right Al pi torah. We all have challenges and we are not created equal. The chinuch we impart is going to be our legacy to our children, not by what we teach but how we act. Let nobody fool themselves into thinking that we can be echad b’peh v’echad b’lev. It is incumbent upon us to do the right thing if that’s what we want to leave over. So just because this one does this it doesn’t make it right. Of course it needs to be balanced but it most definitely is maasei naarus to be a monkey see monkey do.

  2. To the alteh Zaide:
    Please don’t take this the wrong way. You obviously don’t drive in Manhattan that often or your memory is starting to go. Coming south on the FDR, the TWO right lanes both are specific for entering the ramp for the Brooklyn Bridge. There is no need to cut in at the last minute. Its the same for coming off the Brooklyn Bridge on the Brooklyn side. The two right lanes BOTH merge onto to the Cadman Plaza exit. These common sense changes have been in place for quite some time now.
    Yes, one should be extra careful in making sure to make a Kiddush Hashem while driving. Be a mensch. We are constantly being watched.

  3. We can debate the propriety of cutting in when merging, but to say that middos tovos are only expected of bnai torah is false, and to refer to other yidden as not equal is quite inappropriate. You should daven that your einikel hasn’t learned gaiva for a lifetime.

    • Perhaps .However it may be, those who would
      consider themselves elite bnai torah
      if they so do so,must comport themselves, at the minimum, to a stricter better standard

  4. Jay Dbyah
    you obviously misunderstood the writer’s letter. Its a given that everyone must act properly. But seeing some members of the tribe acting improperly is no excuse to act improperly

  5. Honking, double parking, cutting in line, talking on cell phone in shule/ bais medrash. Bringing BBQ chips nash for kids to shule. Derech Eretz has gone out the window with the desktop PC


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