Monday, August 14, 2006


It was an overcast August evening some 2 decades ago.
I remember every detail because few moments in my life have carried such weight..such enormity.
We were driving to Kennedy Airport from the Catskills where we had just spent a Shabbos, just the three of us. My Parents and I. It was our first and only Shabbos..just the 3 of us...and I felt as if I truly got to know them. Just in time to leave them.
I was heading off to yeshiva..a boy of 14..going on 15.
I had this huge lump in a a corkscrew holding back a flood of emotions.
The silence was not helping..punctured only by such distractionary statements as, “You remembered to write down all the phone numbers right?”..and “I hope the rain holds up”.
Watching the New York skyline rush by, a flood of memories threatened to drown me right then and there. 14 years of memories condensed into 2 hours. It was as if I had 1 hour to live. One hour of life as I knew it. From birth until now all I had known was the warm cocoon of my home, my parents, siblings, bed, food and stability. Here I was headed into an unknown..

We pulled up to the curbside and checked in my bags. My Father hugged me, looked me in the eye and shared with me some words of wisdom that life had taught him...”The most important thing is who you surround yourself with, no one will influence you like friends” and a few other important life lessons.
I told him “I love you”, I think.

Then my Mom hugged me and started to tear up, before my father broke it up and told us it’s getting late. It was dark by now. I turned to go and was too lost to introduce myself to the 5 or 6 other boys on my flight. I kept to a window seat and turned toward the window as the City lights disappeared beneath us. The low hum of the engines..the stale air of the plane a sudden and cold departure from the world I knew. For the first time in my life I was truly alone. The lump in my throat got dislodged and tears started flowing down my cheeks in the darkness.

By the time the week was over I had lots of new friends, was used to my lumpy mattress, and my new life.

I was now a man of 15 and not looking back.



Blogger Limey2001 said...


August 14, 2006 2:48 PM  
Blogger chaverah said...

Bravo! now this is a nice post! is this true? you were sent away so young? I dont think I would do that to my own. do you agree? what would you do with your own? I do not think kids should grow up that fast! OY! so many bochurim that are sent away at such a young age. I do not agree with this.

August 14, 2006 11:17 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Awww, what a vivid, life-changing and important memory. Thank you for sharing it with us.

August 14, 2006 11:47 PM  
Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

I always love flying away. I was saying to myself I wouldn't read this until tomorrow, but I couldn't stop once I started. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my surroudings dissappear...

August 14, 2006 11:51 PM  
Blogger ~ Sarah ~ said...

thank you for that insight... i always wonder how such young boys manage on their own at yeshivah.

August 15, 2006 3:11 AM  
Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

I had a lump in my throat reading it, I love the pic. It seems you felt it was negative, was it? Did it turn out positive?

August 15, 2006 10:04 AM  
Blogger A Frum Idealist said...

You haven't told your father that you love him since you were 15?????

August 15, 2006 12:25 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

shame that I never looked back?

hmm everyone is different..I adjusted pretty well and i loved it...althugh i probably wouldve waited another year.

ur is as I remember it

wow...depends on the surroundings I guess

thanks..some better than others.

well that moment..was as I was emotional..But in the long run..I grew from it..

maybe at my wedding.
we have a complicated relationship

August 15, 2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger Limey2001 said...

its an expression like.....hmmm i dont know the american equivelent

August 15, 2006 1:16 PM  
Blogger FrumGirl said...

Oh my, thank you for sharing this with us! I still feel the pain that your words are so saturated with affect me so strongly! My gosh, David, the way you express your emotions is just so enchanting.... But now I'm sad for that young boy who turned into a man....

August 15, 2006 2:54 PM  
Blogger anonym00kie said...

that kind of small talk before a big event can make me so nervous sometimes.. i always just want it to be quiet so i can talk myself through my nerves and i think those around you think they are calming you down by chitchatting..

it sounds like it was an intense drive.. but its amazing how quickly we can adapt to a new reality..

beautifully written, as usual :)

August 15, 2006 10:54 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Thanks...That boy is still with me...deep down.

I just adds to the whole..nervous tension
yes..we do adapt quick..and thank u

August 16, 2006 10:04 AM  
Blogger southernyid said...

Great Post:

As I get ready to send my oldest son off to Yeshiva I think back on when I left home and realize that those of us who are lucky all feel like you do.

It is hard to explain it to my wife, since she never did it, but I try.

Going away to Yeshiva is the single most important moment in a young man's life. It will either destroy him or make him great. B"H it usually works out well, but parents must make sure that they are doing what is right for each child at the time that these decisions are made. My son was accepted in several of the "right" yeshivos but we, (me,my wife and my son) decided to send him to newer, less well known yeshiva because we felt it was the right place for him. Several people asked me "didn't he get in to X? I thought he went for a farher. Well he did get in but since we are picking a place that will help shape him for life, We picked the place where we felt he would thrive, not the place that enables me to say "my son is in ___________.

Ask me in 10 years if we did the right thing, by them we should know.

August 16, 2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger Lady-Light said...

My oldest child (a daughter) left at 18 for year program at Bar Ilan and then to college in NY. My next two made aliyah when they were 19 and 26; the next one to leave was not #4, but my youngest, who in essence 'made aliyah' at age 15! She is currently still in the Na'aleh program, about to begin her senior year in high school, and is expecting her first Tzav Gius ( Tzahal draft order). Then, after she was in Israel for a year, #4 went to Hebrew U. for a year-program after graduating high school in the States. She is going back in Sept. to university in Israel. You wrote your post from the perspective of a kid leaving home; I am at the other end, a parent who on the one hand, can't come to grips with my children leaving me...on the other hand, very proud that they are choosing Israel (most of them!). It's a double-edged sword...but good for the kids (see how it was with you?!)

August 16, 2006 6:58 PM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Great comment...
No doubt. Going to yeshiva is a huge moment...and the single most important who ur friends are. If you have good'll be ok.
Personally I had a great experience.

I can imagine how hard it is for a parent..having to let have to trust them...and realize..theyre becoming adults.

August 17, 2006 9:26 PM  

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