I’m not much for small talk. But, being that I’ve been gone from the yeshiva for a year, a lot of people have been coming up to me asking me how long I’ve been gone. It’s quite common for people to come for short stretches, many times over. So, one thing leads to another, we exchange our stories, and it’s one big happy party.
No, seriously, it’s been really interesting to hear some of these guys, in terms of their spiritual growth, and to see their reaction to me. I won’t go into any more detail, because most of the stories are like this: “You’ve been gone for more than a year right? Oh, only 1 year? And you’re back for how long? You made aliyah? Mazaal tov! Well, how long will you be here? Until January or so? Nice, long enough to learn, should stick around longer though! Ok, I’ll see you around!”
Fairly innocuous in general. One guy, however, said something very uncharacteristic from the way I remember him. He was religious, and extremely hard working in learning Hebrew and the other studies, but he never seemed to be the guy to really put a heavy-handed message on you. He is sort of quiet and awkward, though he is a former rugby player. It scared me, and I retreated quickly. I wasn’t scared for myself…I was scared for him and whatever has happened to his mind. This world, this religious world is his life, not necessarily mine. So….
He said, “may you have a good year of learning, with much strength, and G-d willing, to prepare yourself well for a speedy marriage.” WTF? By the way, he’s not married either. Half the guys I know are now either engaged or married.