How come when you say that a person is yeshivish, you mean it as a good thing, but when you say that a car is yeshivish, you mean it as a bad thing? It’s never like, “Great news! Turns out my car is very yeshivish!”
“Oh, baruch Hashem! You should have many happy years together.”
“I doubt it.”
Right now, I have a very yeshivish car problem, which is that my minivan—which already makes this a yeshivish sentence—my minivan’s driver door does not open from inside the car. It only opens from outside the car.
When I first discovered the problem—when I got back from Mincha/Maariv one night—I didn’t know that it only opened from the outside. I pulled into my driveway and tried the door, and I thought, “Oh no! The door doesn’t open at all!” And I’m a little too big these days to just do the kid thing and climb out through a random door without putting my foot through the console, collapsing the armrest, and in general just making my car even more yeshivish.
So I honk, and my wife comes outside and says, “What?” And I say, “Try the door!” because I want her to discover herself that it doesn’t work. (Maybe she’ll think she broke it.) And she tries the door, and it opens right up, because when you try to show someone that something doesn’t work, it always works. And she says, “Okay, what?” And I say, “Oh.” And she says, “What’s the problem?” And I say, “Um, switch places with me. Get in the car for a second.” And she says, “I’m not doing that.”
So we took it to the mechanic, who said it would cost $500 to fix, which sounds crazy, but it’s actually a whole thing, because the piece costs $300, and then he has to open up the door… And we’re like, “Of course you have to open up the door.” And he says, “No, I have to literally open up the door.”
Take apart the door.
But he admitted it was a lot of money. He said, “Maybe you can just live with this. Because the car is of a certain age.”
That’s the idea—at a certain point in a car’s lifetime, it’s not worth fixing certain things. It’s like how when you get to a certain age, your doctor no longer tries to fix certain things.
“My leg hurts when it rains.”
“Okay, then that’s what it does from now on.”
And it actually is getting up there. We bought the van brand-new almost 16 years ago, and I know this for a fact because it’s slightly older than one of our kids. He’s the reason we bought it.
Also, we already have a few yeshivish problems with our cars that we haven’t fixed:—The rear left door doesn’t open on mornings that it’s cold. In fact, my son and I have spent several carpool mornings with him climbing in from the driver’s door, leaving icy footprints on my seat, and then coming around and pushing the door while I pulled the handle right off. We’re actually on our third door handle. On the bright side, at least both of these problems are not affecting the same door.—In our other car, the back right door doesn’t register as closed in the winter, so the ceiling light keeps coming on whenever we turn left.
It’s always doors. Well, that or air conditioning.—For a while, I had a car in which the air conditioner blew cold air only when the car wasn’t moving. Otherwise it blew hot air. Stop-and-go traffic was a nightmare.—We had a car once of which the rear-view mirror came off in our hands. On the bright side, you could see out the entire front window, unobstructed. It almost made up for the fact that you had no idea what was going on behind you.
What do non-Jews call it when they have a yeshivish car?
“I have a religious-private-school car.”
It’s not the same.
But what’s interesting to me about the concept of yeshivish cars in general is that seemingly, yeshivish means one of two things. When you talk about a person and you say he’s yeshivish, you mean he has certain hashkafos that are in line with the yeshiva world. You don’t mean that he has certain problems that the doctors aren’t fixing because they don’t think it’s worth it.
So why are certain cars called yeshivish?
I think it probably comes from our days in yeshiva, where we all have fond memories of certain things that were just always falling apart and that we just knew were never, ever going to get fixed in our lifetimes because they did not technically affect the overall running of the yeshiva, and we just had to learn to live with them.
That’s my theory on the term. The other possibility is that it’s the kind of car you buy yourself if you’re in yeshiva and finally got your license and your parents don’t want you to tie up their car for 15 hours a day in yeshiva’s parking lot. The car doesn’t need to be great, because you’re either driving a short distance every day or you’re driving a longer distance but only once a month.
On a Friday afternoon.
Or they have a car that basically looks like it runs fine, but the driver’s door no longer opens. I think this is when some people decide to just give their old cars to their kids.
“You’re a teenager; you climb over the seats.”
Ever see a teenager who leaves the window open when he’s not in the car and then gets into the car through said window? He’s not just trying to look cool. He’s trying to look cool so you won’t realize that his door doesn’t open.
That said, I hope we can get this car fixed at some point before our kids start dating.
OUR SON: “Um, can you please get out of the car and open the door for me?”
GIRL: “That’s a new one.”
SHADCHAN: “So was the guy yeshivish?”
GIRL: “His car was yeshivish.”
SHADCHAN: “Good enough!”
Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published eight books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].