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My first time I went out in Israel it was for a drink. Me and a bunch of guys from the Yeshiva went out for a Lchaim. It was a Thursday night and we went for a beer. In Israel, Thursday nights are like Saturday nights, and I like that. It's better to bring a hangover to shul than work.
That first night out might have been a spiritual experience. I don't remember what happened. Though, it was Israel, so it was a holy night out drinking at the bars. I was new to the Yeshiva experience and I was good at it.
Once the High Holidays came, the spiritual experience of partying in Israel changed. Thursday night after Rosh Hashana, my friend Yanky said, 'Let's go out tonight.' So, I went.
You don't argue with Yanky, unless if you want a heated debate. He was a second year guy in the Yeshiva and he already learned how to scream at people when learning Gemara. Yanky was masterful at yelling at his Chavrusa, learning partner, which meant he knew what he was talking about. The more you reproach your Chavrusa, the better learner you are.
Being a Chavrusa to Yanky was an honor that very few had. He was the perfect Chavrusa for learning Gemara Baba Kama. No other Chavrusa had the ability to make you feel like you were being scolded and abused while learning the laws of damages.
We went up north. I thought we were going out. I didn't realize that meant a two hour drive.
Going up north in Israel is a spiritual experience, as roads are windy and not lit, and you're dependent on Gd to not get hit by the falling rock. There was a sign that read 'Falling Rock,' which kind of scared me, as that meant rocks were falling right now. Adding to the spirituality of Israel, I said my first prayer at that moment.
Not fully understanding the excitement of going up north, we ended up at the Rambam's grave-site, and Yanky started to scare me. I thought we were going out to party, and we were now at the graves of Tzadikim (righteous people).
I had no idea what to think. I thought I might've joined a Yeshiva full of hedonists, who have some kind of grave-site rituals. Maybe it was part of the Yeshiva hazing process, where they tell you about righteous rabbis and then leave you in the graveyard to get eaten by ghosts. I was scared.
And then the good times started to role. After the Rambam's Kever, we hit the graves of a few more rabbi's and even a prophet are two. We prayed. We had rugalach. We drank schnapps. And since then, going out has never been the same.
The coolest thing of all. We prayed. We drank and prayed. And I got back to Yeshiva alive. And I was scared to talk to Yanky for a month and a half after that.
Since that night out with Yanky, my life has changed. Now I know what going out means in the Frum world.
Follow Up Notes
It's a new form of partying I've taken on. That's how us religious people do it. What am I doing later tonight? I'm going up north and hitting some Kevers. It's just good times. The rabbis who have passed, Z"L, are what makes for the Thursday night experience.
Last time we hit the Kever of the Rambam. Then we popped over to Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai. We even headed to Yonatan Ben Uziel. On the way back we stopped off at Rabbi Meir Bal HaNes. We got back to Jerusalem right when the bars were closing. Amazing. And we got free rugalach.
Rugalach is the backbone of all Jewish events in Israel. And when its free, it's a real Simcha.
Now I get excited to see dead people and take down a few. And I understand why Yahrzeit candles come in shot glasses.
Can't wait to hit the Ari's Kever this Thursday night. It's going to be dope. Hit the grave and then go for a dunk in the cold bath. The Frum people call it a Mikvah.
I used to do baseball tours. I now see there are Gedolim (important rabbis) that are buried all over the world. I'm going to definitely do a Kever tour of Europe. I think I'll enjoy seeing the graves more than the anti-Semites.
How do I know who the more important rebbes are? I judge by the size of the hole by their grave. The bigger the rebbe the bigger the pit at his Kever. This allows for more notes to be tossed in. Though, older rabbis and righteous ancestors don't have note pits. In the 1200s, people didn't walk around with pens and Post-its.
There are also more candles at holy Kevers of ancient rabbis. Tea lights also represent the holiness of our sages. The more tea lights the holier the sage. I'm still trying to figure out who the better rabbis are. It's very confusing. The Rambam's Kever doesn't have a tea light focus. Due to that, the Rambam's Kever is not a top party destination.
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The Falafel of Etan
Israelis are very possessive of their falafel. Even when they have a shop, they don't like to share it… That's Etan. Standing over them while they eat. Making sure they don't run away with his falafel.