The letters of our thoughts are the ideas present in our mind before they come to realization . . . Thoughts that are, yet not felt . . . The words of the subconscious . . . of the soul . . .


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Purim @ Virginia Tech

Getting ready to leave *

My knowledge of Virginia Tech was limited to the Massacre . . .
A seemingly unheard of school, located deep in Virginia in a small Southern Town. For the days following the tragedy I followed the news with interest, until CNN turned its attention to other inanities leaving the events in Blacksburg as mere facts filed away in the back of my mind.

By the Kinus there had been more mention of Chabad's planned activities. More facts filed away . . .

When offered a chance to go to help the new Shliach on campus for Purim, my interests were piqued.

Click on the link to see the pictures . . .

There and Back Again -our trip

Note: All pictures marked with a * were taken by Yankel, with a ** by Chaim. All costumes are not normally worn by the people dressed in them, actions and images associated with those depicted can and should only be understood in the context of Purim . . . Chayav inish l'besumei bipuria ad delo yada.

Setting up the beds

Getting ready for Purim . . .

The party started at 8:00 with Krias Hamegillah, followed by a festive Purim meal for the two dozen guests (after eight hours and 500 miles of driving on Ta'anis Esther the food was more then appreciated by the bochurim)

. . . and the mingling began.

Schmoozing with one student, joking with another, saying l'chaim with a third . . . Purim time!

Around 11 or so the students began to leave, and our next job began -packing Shalach Manos for the next day.


. . .

Purim Morning

Gragger time . .


Followed by mivtzoyim on campus.

Upon arriving I was struck by how nice the grounds actually were . . . What was more, the weather was cool, with the sun shining brightly in a nearly cloudless blue sky -perfect Purim weather.

D. and I proceeded to visit the various professors around campus, while Yankel and Chaim went "tabling" . . . speaking to the various students on campus.

Stopping by the Religion Teacher, we knocked on a door covered with cartoons -including one of a fish swallowing a man with the caption Gefilte Fish in Yiddish. The office was filled with erudite books with such subjects as, "Post Rabbinic study in the pre-classic Hasmonean era in western Spain and Iraq." and "A complete and unabridged dictionary of Biblical Hebrew, Greek, Akkadian, and Pig Latin."

The professor greeted us with a smile, offering us seats and a chance for discussion.

We spoke about Purim, the Kehillah (community), making Hamantashin and the like.

"So," one of us asked, "Professor, when was the last time you had a chance to put on tefillin?"

We expected the worst -Academics are always hard to get to, and a Professor of Religion nach? But after all, it was Purim . . .

"I'd love to." He said. "But you see . . . I'm not Jewish. I do have a great respect for Judaism though."

We laughed. I spoke about why Esther alone wanted the Megillah written, with Mordechai only wanting a holiday.

"Does it have to do with the fact that her name is hinted to in the verse 'Bayom Hahu haster aster es pani -on that day I shall surely hide My countenance . . .' ?"

It did.
Had he mentioned Helem ha'atzmi l'fnei hatzimtzum, I don't think I would have been much more surprised.



My first Tefillin of the day with David*

Chabad @ V. Tech

A group shot

Drinking Hokie Water
-nothing beats it.

After closing up the table, we set off around campus looking for Coach Greenberg -the start basketball coach. We couldn't find him though . . .

The Rabbi

A Rabbit in the yard of the future Chabad house.

While Chaim and D. went to get supplies for the Purim Seudah, Yankel and I set up shop on campus again . . .

I know, I know, it isn't that
chassidish to wear garishly colored things -but it was purim after all, and besides I happen to find them to be a very comfortable pair of shoes. . .

Alex puts on Tefillin for the first time.

Just for Purim . . .

The Purim meal was great. I spent my time farbrenging with two Israeli-Russian Professors . . . It wasn't hard to get them to laugh, every Russian song I started seemed to crack them up . . . It must have been the whiskey.


Saying goodbye to the campus by the April 16 memorial

So long, and thanks for all the fish . . . It was a great Purim

Stay tuned for Part II -the trip back.

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Nemo said...

Looks like you guys did some good work over there and had some fun too! See ya around man...

Mottel said...

Twas a great time . . . How was your Purim?

Anonymous said...

Haha I see DUKES!

Mottel said...

Yup, the one and only.

le7 said...

Aww Yudi and Tzviki. MIss those kids. Seems like you had a great time.

Mottel said...

How do you know them?
We had an awesome time there.

le7 said...

Woops, I never replied.

They were on shlichus in Milwaukee before they went to Virginia Tech. (The Mama Bloom is the reason I bit the bullet and went to Machon Alte).