"Ya know Leibish… I mamish can’t believe it. Today by lunch the cook served soy protein balls and had the chutzpah to call them meatballs. Such a liar!!! I think es failt eppes in the nekudas haEmes in this mokom. I don’t know if I can be mamshikh over here. "
"Meir I think this might be the end. You remember that shevrer RebKivaEiger we were tummeling about yesterday? Well I went over to the Director of development and he tried forcing a teretz that not only I couldn’t be mekabel but hr himself knew az ess laigt zikh nisht off’n kop. Meila when someone is making a tous but doesn’t see it.. meheykhe teisa. But to be so dishonest in learning that you’re trying to farkoif someone else on a doikhek you don’t believe in yourself… (Shakes his head in disappointed disillusionment)".
These stories are of course absurd because there is a division of labor and delegation of authority within a Yeshiva structure. One shouldn’t blame the Yeshiva cook if the bukhrim are late for minyan or the yungerleit are spending too much time in the coffee-room nor the director of development if the cook under-salts his food or the vekker isn’t getting the dormers up in the morning.
So to lay the blame on the yeshivas educational/spiritual leadership for some low-level historical revisionism that some low-man-in-the-totem-pole in the Yeshivas administrative offices hatched is at least equally preposterous.
Ay.. you’ll cite for me the 60 year old mayseh (scroll down to page 2..."the false tree")of Rav Ahron Kotler and the imbalanced trees in the receipt book...
A. He was genius enough, and his Yeshiva small enough, that the could still micromanage and sweat all the little details.
B. This is an obvious מדת חסידות of integrity, a level of honesty that not only seems beyond our ken but which seems to us, lacking his level of sensitivity nothing more than obscurantist and/or metaphysical mumbo jumbo.
That story is hardly comparable to the current cause celebre'. That packing empty tables or blanching blue-shirts might be seen as somewhat less than truthful packaging for THE PRODUCT ITSELF is almost reasonable. But the number of trees in the yeshiva walkway? I mean admit it . If this weren’t the sainted Rav Ahron Kotler that we were talking about (and if we didn’t have the ulterior motive of another axe to grind against Chaim Berlin) then we’d write the whole thing off as the anxiety attack of an OCD, pedantic crackpot.
Here's a plausible scenario for how I imagine the whole thing may have gone down:
Middle manager: “Hey, great (eye roll) job you did on the weekly planner last year. Not only did we take flack from our right wing over the guy…”
Low-level schnook in charge of really low level direct mail fund-raising: “ bu…bu..but the left wing may have actually liked it…”
Middle manager: So what? Look at our student body… The tuition base and the main donors want white shirts…not blue. And besides were you paying the photographer overtime? What … he couldn’t wait another five minutes into the seder when the Bais Medrash is full? Look at all those empty tables. When’d he take the picture? At 9:16?”
Low-level schnook; “OK… I’ll call the guy back and have him wait till the middle of seder to shoot the picture”
Middle manager: Are you kidding? The dinner and raffles campaigns were disasters this year. You think we can afford another photo shoot? Just go with a plain cover with the Yeshivas logo
Low-level schnook: But it’s b’etzem such a nice image...
Middle manager: Ya know what?? You do what you want…but if I hear any more flack from our right wing it’ll mean your job.. there’re plenty of guys out of work now would grab it in a second.
How many of us under that kind of pressure might have failed the integrity test and taken some shortcuts to make nice to our managers?
IMO in the spirit of Elul rather than making a war-criminal out of this guy we ought to be showing a little empathy and compassion.
Qedusha-Havdala...Have you had YOURS today???Hmmmm????