From Aveirahs to Chumrahs in 60 Seconds
If you read my long meandering About page, you may know that I learn with guys at Yeshivas Lev Aryeh. Amongst the minor financial rewards, and great spiritual rewards, are the minor perks, like spying on the creative process involved with putting together Lev Aryeh’s famous new viral youtube videos, the Purim release The Aveirah Song, and the new just for fun summer release: The Chumrah Song – the official sequel to The Aveirah Song. (Warning – Looking at youtube may be dangerous to your spiritual health, so probably it’s better to view them using the links below.)
The Aveirah Song https://www.youtube.com/user/LevAryehJerusalem
Lev Aryeh – The Chumrah Song
I got a gander at lots of silly clips that didn’t make it into the video. I heard how the donkey was obtained, and then made a hasty retreat when the baby tried to nuzzle me. (I’m ok with animals I guess, but I didn’t want it to eat my tzitzis. And as Dr. Suess said, “I’m not your Mommy.”)
More interestingly, I read the first draft of the new song, written by “B,” and was privy to hear some of the weeding process (A lot of the lines were too lomdish – to obscure – for the uneducated masses). “B,” (who I’m sure wouldn’t mind if I disclosed his first name but still I didn’t get permission) is the head talent behind the videos. He’s the producer, writer, director, and main actor for the character he created. He’s got a good, yiddeshe kop, not just for silliness, but as a solid “learner.” The man has a notebook on Baba Basra as thick as a phone book. He’s not just a letz (clown).
The Lesson Behind the Lev Aryeh Videos
So I pointed out to him “I love how the character is still the same guy… I mean, he hasn’t learned anything really – before he was bragging about his big aveirahs, and now he’s bragging about his bigchumrahs. No real spiritual development there. He’s still a show-off.”
B. concurred. “You’re one of the only guys who gets this!” he affirmed, (It was early on in the game.) “That’s really the whole idea.”
The contrast between the two videos is shtark mussar (a real lesson) for us all. The point is not to put down, malign or deride any particular group of people (unlike some satirical Jewish blogs may or may not think) – just ask the boys. It’s just done in silliness, a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down…. but the hidden message is deep, yet right in our faces.
We laugh at the character in the vid, but how much of our behavior is driven by our deeper values, and how much of it is moved by a need for approval or ego gratification? Are all of our mitzvahs so completely l’shmah (for the sake of heaven) – sometimes even our aveirahs aren’t l’shmah (for their own sake)! B.’s character is really funny, and the songs and videos are extremely entertaining, but the message hits close to home. “Eizah hu chacham, ha’lomed m’kol adam.” Who is wise, one who learns from every man…
This includes what not to do from the videos’ character, and it includes the wisdom of the young Lev Aryeh bachrim behind him. Lev Aryeh