He had been born and raised in New York and took a manly* pride in knowing the
city. I know the city.
-Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities
So much manly pride, in fact, that the ego-boost inspired by the mechanics of Sunday threatens to overwhelm the actual good and meaningful activities themselves.
It's been a busy weekend. Besides the delightful guests we had over Shabbat, I was asked to speak at Etz Chaim in the rabbi's absence, the fact that I only attend there on weekdays notwithstanding. It went over well, I think, and there was even a very nice kiddush (for all the graduates- congrats!) afterwards. I even got instant semikha from both the bulletin writer and the shul's president, who announced me. Yup, Buddha-With-A-Sword is now Rabbi Nachum Lamm.
Sunday was a bit less relaxed. At eleven, I headed off to Brooklyn for the wedding of my dear friend Zil. Ah, I recall the first time I encountered an ex-boyfriend at a wedding, the wedding of a high school classmate of mine. Actually, I think he (I also knew him, as it happened) was an ex-fiance, but either would have seemed very odd to me in those more innocent days. Now, I find myself in that position, and I don't see what's so wrong. OK, so it's a little awkward, because "old friend" (however true) doesn't really compute to many in the Orthodox world, and because quite a few people there knew that "old friend" (again, however true) wasn't the whole truth. But I digress. The wedding was low-key (at least by crazy Jew standards, and no Braveheart torches) and lovely, as was the bride, as always, and I'm eternally grateful I was invited.
Alas, I had to duck out shamefully early (to me, at least, anything before the very end would have fit that definition), although I did manage to take in the bulk of the wedding. Proper (I hope) Mazal Tovs were exchanged, but I must find some better way to express them later. But here's a placeholder huge Mazal Tov and best wishes! I was on the way into Manhattan.
I decided to forgo the elaborate transfers I had planned, especially as the trains (something Sherman McCoy, for all his ego, never really dealt with) didn't seem to be running as they should have. Even so, strolling along 42nd and the south end of Puerto Rican day, I managed to get to the RIETS (oy, that site needs help) dinner. And lo! I made it in time for Rav Goldwicht's shiur.
Post-shiur conversation paraphrase: "What's your name?" "Nachum Lamm." "Nachum Lamm? I heard a Nachum Lamm speak at Etz Chaim yesterday!" "Yup, me." Ego? Moi?
Rav Goldwicht is a gem- no, that's too mild a word- and I was there mostly because he was being honored. Kollel Yom Rishon, which I attend religiously, was his idea, and my parents attend his shiur every week (and chipped in for an ad), so how could I not come? Besides, I owed YU a dinner after the huge break they gave on the High Schools dinner (also magnificent, and one I got to enjoy to the end, appropriately enough considering I actually went there) a few weeks ago.
Alas (again) I ate little at the extensive shmorg and less at the dinner. I'd just come from a wedding, after all. Besides, I had to duck out early (yup, again) and only got to hear the introduction speeches (The dinner chairman, Richard Joel, Julius Berman, a video, R' Charlop- all terrific) and R' Goldwicht's first few words. I did get a journal and a set CDs of shiurim from YUTorah (with a picture of my cousin on the cover, hee). Once again, YU does it with style. Kol HaKavod to them, and to all the honorees!
And so to the train, here with a transfer. (I know the city.) And behold! Wonder of wonders! Pil'ei Pila'im, as R' Goldwicht is wont to say. (And as R' Charlop said, he is as well.) I made it to Chaviva's engagement party with some time to spare! (Fortunately, it ran a bit over.) Everyone who should be there was there, including some old friends I hadn't seen in a while. I even finally (after two dinners without) got some dessert, encouraged by the kallah's extraordinarily menschlich father. A huge Mazal Tov to this couple as well! I even got to finally get to know someone I see at davening every morning.
Speaking of which, it's time for bed. Durn, I'm going to have to do some serious work to recover from all the enjoyment! :-) Once again, deepest and fondest thanks and Mazal Tovs to all who made the day what it was.
Have a great week, dear ones.
*Yes, I'm aware that Wolfe, to whom manliness is a theme, is most likely using this word ironically. McCoy doesn't become manly until the last chapter in the book, and then it involves his fists. But then again, Wolfe would probably be ironic about me as well. Come to think, about himself too.