Every four years, YU holds its Chag Hasemikhah ceremony, celebrating their newly minted musmakhim. Some of you have seen the ads in the various papers, but many if not most have had the pleasure of avoiding every possible one.
I’ve been to two of these things before, and the best description I can give is that it’s a college graduation, but with all the speeches being given by Rabbis. To put things in perspective, the most memorable moment from the first one I went to was R. Tendler’s chair collapsing on stage during Ya’akov Ne’eman’s speech. 1
Due to the mitzvah of kibbud av va’em I will be attending the upcoming one on Sunday as this is my “hag hasemikha class” and just having my klaf isn’t good enough for some people.
At any rate, as a public service to those who find themselves in the position of being stuck in one of these things, Avraham and I got together and made our own drinking game to make the day a little more leibedik. 2
While any type of kosher alcoholic beverage is allowed (sherry cask optional, and see below), we recommend the following:
- Single malt scotch if you interned in the 5 towns
- Blended scotch for Teaneck
- Bourbon for Brooklyn
- Non-mevushal for Sephardim
- Cheap schnaps if you’re in chincuch
- Anything from the shul’s “special stash” if you’re in Rabbanus
- Soda if you were in R. Rosensweig’s shiur (non-caffinated preferable)
If you’re still squeamish, or an underage illuyi, feel free to substitute the drinking for bingo cards.
- One sip for every “Torah U’maddah,” two for “bringing wisdom to life” (or variants).
- For “ennoble” and “enable,” finish your glass.
- One sip for every gratuitously meandering anecdote. Two shots if it’s shvartza wolf.
- For each mention of the Center For the Jewish Future (CJF) put out a press release promising to coordinate the drinking a to-be-determined amount of a beverage to be named soon.
- One sip if a speaker loses his train of thought, four if it was intentional.
- When your Rosh Yeshiva is mentioned, take a shot, stand on a chair, and proclaim, “O Captain My Captain”.
- If your Rosh Yeshiva is R. Reichman, take a shot and sing “yamim al yemei melech tosif“.
- If R. Tendler is mentioned, take a shot of single malt scotch from sherry casks.
- Two shots for any mention of ‘brisker‘- one mitzad ehad and one mitzad sheni. Bonus: Give reasons for, against, and nafka minot as to if the person is really a true brisker. This includes any Soloveitchik.
- If Chaim Soloveitchik is mentioned, storm out of the room grumbling how the speaker wasn’t really prepared.
- One shot for the mention of a current or former intern at the RJC or HIR. This includes the roll call. 3
- Finish your drink for mention of a musmach who has already been put in herem
- One shot for every “Jewish leader” not working in the field. Two shots for each one that you know is in accounting.
- Light drinkers – one shot for every srugah. Heavy drinkers – one shot for every black suede. Finish the bottle if you see a bucharian.
- At the mention of smikha being 4 years, drink one shot for each extra year it took you to finish.
- Take one shot for every parasha derasha disguised as a speech.
- For each mention of Bernard Revel, drink 3 shots while banging on a drum.
- Shoutouts to visiting dignitary rabbis — one shot.
- Shoutouts to a history of musmakhim in a family — one shot per generation. Finish the bottle if this includes women.
- Shoutouts to members of the Aggudah — two shots.
- Shoutouts to Sephardim — three shots and do the “yilleleele” thing.
- Shoutouts to Habad — double shot of vodka and perform an adaption Monty Python’s dead parrot sketch.
- Shoutouts to YCT/HIR/Avi Weiss — finish the bottle and hug the person to your right.
- At the conclusion, put your hands on the head of the person to your right and finish the bottle.
Brilliant. I would add points for certain things like how many times Joel and friends repeat their buzz phrases such as:
“bringing g-d to the community and the community to g-d”, “developing klei kodesh and lay kodesh” etc.
how many drinks for those of us who still owe Basar Bchalav for the last 4 years and didnt qualify for this one :(
Nice to know you still care.
How many drinks for all the new musmakhim who did take the bechinas but would be hard pressed to prove they actually fulfilled the fulltime residency requirements?
The single malt scotch thing is actually fairly recent in the five towns. Trust me, my dad was one of the first people to introduce to the Leon Mayer Beis Midrash Minyan the Laphroaig back when it was still held in a coat closet….I guess that would be around the time I was three or four. Those where the days when kiddushes were more regular, tinier, and always had various kinds of herring….and these weird sodas in glass bottles that I used to only see in Shul….Also in the days when all the youth programs where held in a house behind the shul (but I might be mixing up dates, this was all a veyr long time ago I think)
So I guess maybe a decade and a half give or take isn’t such a small time ago….
Love the dead parrot thing (okay, anything Monty Python, but this was especially brilliant).
1. Mazal Tov Josh. It’s been a long while.
2. Chag Hasmicha was long and boring.
3. My least favorite part – all the rich folks who think that giving me entitles them to tell you how to poskin.
4. My number one memory – long and boring.
5. Best part – seeing friends I hadn’t seen in ages.
6. Worst part – never seeing them again.
I guess your game is a good way to pass the day. So many speeches – way too much time.
A riot. Are you always this funny?