I had the opportunity to spend last Shabbat in my Yeshiva Ohr Elchonon Chabad.
I was back in a place where paper and pen were still the primary way of recording classes, landlines were the preferred way of making a phone call, and heavy books with 2,000-year-old passages were the focus of study.
The boys’ schools and girls’ schools are in different parts of town, and the students are not on any career path. (Even practical Rabbinics are not taught in Yeshiva, and students who go into business or law, etc., need to take post-Yeshiva courses.)
Much has been written about the advantages of this system of delving into the essential Jewish texts for the sake of the study itself. Three millennia of this system are what have shaped our nation.
But on a certain level, it makes no sense. How do we justify spending the most formative years of our lives not preparing for the future and barely living in the present?
Perhaps it doesn‘t make sense. And that’s the point.
Obsession doesn‘t make sense. Whether one is obsessed with sports, music, cars, clothes, or sitcoms, obsessions don’t make sense.
Yet obsession is at the heart of our world. So much time, energy, and resources are spent on that which doesn‘t make sense, that in the midst of multiple wars that are changing history, Time magazine named a music artist as “person of the year.”
We cannot meet obsession with reason. We need to meet it with a similar sense of passion and excitement. That is what Yeshiva is. A place where people are excited, passionate, and deeply engaged with Hashem’s Torah, not because it makes sense but because it‘s a holy obsession.
What is your holy obsession?