Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Living and Learning in a Morg

Morg sits as the Cinderella of YU Batei Medrash: fairer than her homey sisters (i.e. roomier and more comfortable), yet denied the respect and resources to realize her full potential. Someday, her prince will arrive, correcting three major issues:

1) A Sefer Learning Environment. Morg lacks sufficient Sefarim, highlighting an almost ridiculous disparity between it and other BM. This is certainly not scientific, but I would guess that Furst has at least four times as many Sefarim in a space at least five times smaller. If I seek a reference Sefer, I head up to the Sefardi BM, whose dozen or so residents are privy to a far better collection than their numerous neighbors down under. Let them revel in their excellent resources! But let us too! Until then, Morgites will be united by that shared pet peeve: removing rows of Talman Talmuds looking for the Masekhta hidden behind, wondering when a new bookshelf and new Shas will finally arrive.

2) A Room of our Own. Can we have a Rosh Yeshiva? Please! While all BM suffer from the general truancy of our Rabbinic leadership, most have one that learns on a daily basis. Heck, Furst has three!

Imagine if Rav Rosensweig - who's shiur composes a fair share of Morg men - dedicated an hour a day to his personal makom in Morg. Even if not accessible for questions, he would always remain available for inspiration. If not Rav Rosensweig, how about . . . anyone!

3) Closed: No Learning Except During Posted Hours. Rav Shulman's shiur should not be in the center of a Beit Medrash used by any (let alone many) talmidim from other shiurim. Period. What is the Hava Amina?! I confess, I have not mustered the courage to mention it to him. Has anyone?

When that blessed day arrives, Morg will morph into the Princess we know her to be. While there's little to do about her external features, three internal changes will finally bring Kavod to Bat Melekh's Pnim.


Julian Horowitz said...

I was expecting a few more death puns in a post about the Morg...

Anonymous said...

The problem with a lack of s'farim in the Morg Beit Midrash has been a problem for quite some time, and kudos for raising it yet again.
In terms of Roshei Yeshiva learning in Morg- Rabbi Sobolofsky does come to Morg quite often (to the left right when you come in). It is a problem that Roshei Yeshiva do not spend so much time in the various batei midrash, but one that effects the Main Beit Midrash as well (while some Roshei Yeshiva spend time in some of the batei midrash, there is not nearly enough of a presence). This is an issue that needs to be addressed for every m'qom Torah in YU.
In terms of the issue of being kicked out of Morg for various shei'urim (and mussar schmoozes...) this issue effects those who learn in the Annex as well.
The problem is that the various allocation of shiur locations makes no sense. Forget about the issue of kicking guys out of their beit medrash- how about fitting 90+ guys into a small room in Furst. Rabbi Sobolofsky gives shiur in Furst, in a room that has 80 desks and more guys! Is this not a fire hazard? Next door in Rabbi Rosensweig's room the same issue exists! I don't know what the solutions are, but something needs to be done.

Kudos again for bringing these issues to the fore.

Nachum said...

Won't the new Beis Midrash being built solve these problems? Or are all the smaller BMs still going to be open?

Tzvi Feifel said...

Rav Sobolofsksy only learns in Morg one day a week - Wednesday, when Rabbi Cohen gives mussar in Furst. So let's not pretend that he's a constant presence. And there are some Roshei Yeshiva who do spend all of seder in their respective beises. Take Rabbi Wieder, who learns in the main beis, for example. He is there everyday, barring emergencies, from around 9:00 AM (9:15 when there's traffic on the bridge) - 12:30 PM. I believe there are at least one or two other Roshei Yeshiva who do as well. But yes, there is certainly a problem if that can only be said about two or three Roshei Yeshiva out of thirty-something.

And, as anon noted, students being kicked out applies in both annexi in addition to Morg. But I think Nachum is correct in saying that the new building will solve this specific issue. Although it is possible - and I don't know this as a fact - that there are open classrooms in Furst that could be utilized by Maggidei Shiur. I mean, does IBC really take up all of the non-shiur classrooms on the second and third floors?

Anyway, excellent post.

Anonymous said...

I am not in Rav Weider's shiur and as such i dont get to utilize this as much but a shout to rav weider for venturing across the treacherous hallway between the main beis and the annex to see how the guys in his shiur who learn in the annex are doing, i dont keep track but i am pretty sure he does it if not every day then significant number of times during the week.

its disheartening that actually getting to see your shiur rav during morning seder is an exception and not the norm. Where are our roshei yeshiva??

Anonymous said...

Where are there rooms big enough for R' Shulman's shiur (or, for that matter R' Sobolofsky and R' Rosensweig) to relocate? Isn't that the reason that R' Shulman and R' Neuberger switched rooms - because Furst classrooms weren't big enough?

Ibn Avraham said...

Obviously every RY needs a shiur room large enough for all talmidim, but not at the expense of other people's mekomot and BM time.

How about Furst 5th Floor - those are big enough. Or Shiur in Belfer! My Physics Auditorium would be awesome for shiur and - this is a guarantee - would not disturb anyone's morning Seder. The same could be said for the Auditorium style classroom in Muss.

tani said...

theres no reason as to why R' Shulamn gives shuir in morg other than the fact that someone has always given shuir in morg. there are plenty of open classrooms which could house R' shulmans shuir (not to mention R' Sobofosky's or R' Rosensweigs) The problem is that the Reits office which takes care of all these things still operates the same way it did in 1965.