A few weeks ago, a video circulated of a member of a yeshiva proudly declaring that all he wants in life is to sit with a Rabbeinu Dovid on Pesachim and drink “rishis cold seltzer.” It was an impromptu video, not highly produced, and people did not understand what in the video merited such virality. But anyone who spent time in yeshiva did.
Why? I think it has to do with the changing relationship we have with yeshiva itself. Once you leave, for a host of reasons, your yeshiva becomes marked by wealth – who is being honored, who is at the top of the donor list.
This video highlighted something else. It was like an old couple, with decades of carpools and those daily pedestrian responsibilities of families, reading their first love letters. This video reminded us of that first love. As you grow up and mature, even if you continue learning, the instinctive love and values of Torah that yeshiva protects can erode. Yeshiva is where that love is first born and nurtured. To love Torah so deeply is something that requires a cultural universe to reinforce, and there’s no world that does that better than the world of yeshiva. And perhaps a rishis cold can of seltzer.