20 Minutes of Wasted Time
As you may know the Yeshiva has Night Seder until 8:00 three times a week. On Thursday we have, in addition, a 20 minute speech on various topics. This week it was given by a rabbi known for giving short speeches based on gematriot. These are usually dubious but to give you a feel of what we use the time for here's a partial transcript (from memory) of what the speech was.
Rabbi: You probably think I can only give gematriot but I'm going to go farther than that and not give any gematriot in the speech. (applause) He started off by mentioning his second grade Rabbi was the one who told him about a lot of his chassidic ideas which he uses in speeches ( Admitting he was giving second grade level speeches). We see in our parsha that by the birthright it says Eisav ate, drank, got up, and left. This was transformed to he ate without a a brachah, he drank without a brachah, got up without bentching, and left without a yarmulke. (Editor's note by Yitzchak it uses the phrase he ate, and he drank and it doesn't mention a brachah said.) He said it was a chassidic dvar torah and then asked a Rebbe at the school who is a chassidic Rabbi if he had heard the idea and he replied no. The speech continued on with the importance of saying brachos and saying them slowly. Then he went on to an analogy. Rabbi: Suppose someone gives you a check with 3 zeroes and you say that's worthless so he adds another 3 zeroes and then you hand it back and he adds 3 zeroes. Finally he adds a 1 in front and now what is it? Audience: (several at once) A bounced check!
He then went on with the George H.W. Bush idea of telling us to be more like the Walton's who made a blessing before each meal. Finally he used a strawman argument within a strawman argument to make his point. He said the ordinary person who works from 9-5 if you ask him why he works he'll say to pay the bills. Then if you ask why pay the bills he will say "To have a roof over my head." Then if you ask why you need a roof they will say to sleep well. Then if you ask why you need to sleep well they will answer so I can get up for work. For a Jew its different because he's doing it all to serve Hashem's will. ( Of course if you continue that line of questioning it will also eventually be circular.) This is not only demolishing a series of questions and answers that no one would answer but also attacking them even though there's nothing wrong with the answers because he's working to maintain a quality of life which makes him happy.