|MYP Student Recounts Tragic Breakup|
|Written by Nathan Kirshstein|
|Thursday, 19 May 2011|
It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.
The day started like any other day: I woke up, said “Modeh Ani”, washed, showered, went to the bathroom, said “Asher Yatzar”, got dressed, said Birchot Hashachar, grabbed my coffee, but the phone rang before I was out the door for Minyan.
“Boker Tov,” said a voice I immediately recognized as Yitzchak, my chavrusah.
“Boker Ohr,” I replied cheerfully. Yitzchak and I had learned together for over 2 years and in the coming summer, we would be celebrating our 3rd anniversary.
“Natan,” he said in a nervous voice. “We need to talk. This will not be easy but I think it is time that we stopped seeing each other as Chavrusahs.”
The words hit me like a bowl of 3 day old Cholent. “What do you mean?” I asked with exasperation. I thought back to the first time I met Yitzchak during freshman orientation. We were at a YP freshman meet and greet. It was a cool, pretty, sunny day, atypical of New York weather in August. We split a beer together not wanting to get silly in front of the Rosh Yeshivah who was hosting the event. We talked about our dreams, our aspirations, our hopes and we hit it off so well that we became Chavrusahs.
“Look, Natan, we have been learning together for over 2 ½ years and I think it would be good for both of us if we changed partners.”
“Was it something I said?” I asked him. I remember last Purim when I had a little too much to drink and I told Yitzchak that we had to learn the Ramban’s Mishneh Torah and nothing else. He seemed not to be too bothered by the comment when we talked about it the next morning.
“No, Natan, it’s not that. It’s not anything in particular.”
“Yitzchak, are you upset from when I said at the Seder that there are other Poskim beside Rav Soleveitchik? Remember I had had 4 cups of wine. I meant no disrespect.”
“No, no my dear Natan...it is not any one thing. In fact, it is not you; it’s me. I am restless. It’s like I know exactly what you are going to say when we study Gemarah. Do you remember the time when we were studying Tractate Betzah and you jokingly said ‘it depends what came first - the chicken or the egg?’ Well… I predicted you would say that”.
I had become too predictable for Yitzchak. He wanted more spontaneity in our relationship; more passion. He could predict what I was going to say, how my voice would inflect and how I would raise my thumb when we came across a Kal Vachomer. I knew I should have spiced up that Cholent.
“So that’s it? We can’t talk it out to see if I can meet your needs?” I asked.
“No, Natan, it is better this way. The last 2 ½ years have meant so much to me; I will never forget you. I hope we can remain friends.”
“One last thing, Yitzchak. Is there somebody else? Have you been studying with others? I noticed in our learning sessions you seem disengaged. When we’re about to hit a climactic point in the Mishnah, your ideas and enthusiasm seem to deflate.” Is there someone else?”
“No, my friend, there is no one else. I am sorry. Goodbye.” And at those words the call came to an abrupt end.
At that moment, my world seemed to end. I gave Yitzchak the best 2 ½ years of my life. Whenever he called me to study, I came running. I prepared extra for his favorite Mishnah so he would not be disappointed in our learning. Maybe I was too eager; maybe I should have let him come to me instead of always going to him; maybe, he would have respected me more if I would have put my needs ahead of his sometimes. I will probably go out tonight to my favorite Thursday night Seder, and have a few beers with friends. I know I should try to learn from this relationship and that getting hurt is part of life. Tomorrow is a new day, a new beginning, and a new dawn.
After all, there are plenty of “Daggim in the Yam”.