Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tardy For The Party

I was recently called a “tzugga kuminar.” Yet again another word you think you would find on an Indian take out menu. But, to my dismay when I tired to order it at Gupta’s all night masala bar, Gupta told I would be better off at Moishe’s Knish Kingdom. Apparently this title I was given is Yiddish, not Hindi. Now, although I have been exposed to the Yiddish language by my parents and grandparents, I never really learned Yiddish. I can understand for the most part and get the gist of a conversation, but I can’t reply. I never saw this as a problem. I mean Yiddish is sort like Latin...dead. However, after seven months in Crown Heights I have come to the conclusion that I should probably learn some Yiddish. So today I learned. 
What is a “tzugga kuminar?”
Well, how could I find this out. I could google, get a dead language dictionary, maybe ask my Rabbi. Nope, I asked one of my favorite Gehzees (no sarcasm here, this one is really a favorite). Dear Gehzee, what is a “tzugga kuminar?” Well, they didn’t really know. I was confused. I thought one of the rules of being Gehzee was to speak Yiddish. Apparently I was mistaken. So I moved onto a new source. I would like to welcome the addition of my Chasidish friend. You know white stocking wearing, knicker wearing, longa peyis having, Chasid. The answer...”somevone who came to der family.” Now I’m even more confused. I don’t remember coming to anyones family. In fact pretty sure I haven’t come into anyones family recently. So why the new title? Let me explain.
In the Gehzee world this wonderful Yiddish term, means a late bloomer. Someone who wasn’t originally a member of the club, that came later on. Basically someone with out a Gehzee connection...A BAAL TESHUVA. So why not just say that? Why make things confusing? I have no answer for this. Except that I feel that this new Yiddish term is a bit more derogatory than its Hebrew counter part. Yes that’s right derogatory, offensive, or in Yiddish...NISHT SHAIN. Now I’m really confused because I was always told that being a  Baal Teshuva was a good thing.I can rag on it from now until tomorrow but it’s still a good thing. Let me explain...
According to basic Chabad Chasidus there are three types of people in this world. The Tzadik, they Baal Teshuva, and the Rasha. Basically the good, the once bad and now good, and the bad. Easy enough. But the question is who is the best. I know, the good. Nothing trumps the good. Well, wrong. You  see, the good were always good never experiencing anything else but good. So therefore not the best. And well the bad don’t know or want to know anything better than bad so, not the best. Then there is the Baal Teshuva, the “tzugga kuminar.” These are the people who have been exposed to the good, the bad and the ugly and have chosen to change their lives for the good. Now I am not going to go on and argue whether or not religion is good or bad blah blah blah, I am just explain the rest of the Chasidus. Basically, it is said that no person including a Tzadik can ever walk in the same shoes as a Baal Teshuva. That they are the best because they have seen the other side and have seen all there is to see, all of the worldly pleasure and desire, and still they chose the limited lifestyle of being dedicated to the Jewish religion. Therefore they have made the most sacrifice. They are AWESOME! So, why do we get a bad rap? Answer, because we were late to the party. 
Here’s what I say...we are all give up the Yiddish slurs and be nice.


  1. A cheilek elokah m'ma'al mamish! =)

  2. Tell me again, what is it that gives these people the right to judge anyone?

  3. actually you dont have to be a baaltshuvah to be a tzugekuminer. you can be an ffb and still be a tzugekuminer.

  4. would love to hear what you have to say...i have to hear this perspective.