But there's a prequel.
Much earlier, my husband checked out other yeshivahs, yeshivahs more in line with what he was familiar and whose students dressed like him.
A Tale of Two Yeshivahs
Though my husband liked the yeshivah, he found the ride there and back too terrifying to endure again.
He also went to a very serious and highly regarded dati-leumi yeshivah. But they politely rejected him on the basis that he learned at a dati-mamlachti [government-religious] high school, and not a much more religious yeshivah high school.
To this day, my husband has a dati-leumi cousin who mourns this rejection.
"If only they'd accepted you then, you'd still be dati-leumi today!" she once lamented. "If only they'd known how committed you were to learning Torah and how much you'd advance in learning! But no...instead, the chareidim got you."
And then she started into a soliloquy about how the dati-leumi yeshivahs need to be more accepting of people who obviously have a thirst for Torah learning, even if the potential students don't come from just the "right" background.
"I mean, to reject you—you!—JUST because you learned in a dati-mamlachti school— it's not like you weren't religious at all! For crying out loud...look at how much you've accomplished in learning—what a missed opportunity for them!"
She was upset that charedim don't generally serve in the IDF, and feels like if only the dati-leumi yeshivah had been more accepting, then my husband wouldn't have gone "off the derech" to the charedi world.
And she's right!
(We're extremely fond of her, by the way. And she's very fond of us too! She bubbles with tremendous simchat chayim—joyous lifeforce—and is always very exuberant and warm toward both of us and our children. It's just that the whole IDF draft issue concerning charedim really bothers her.)
Hashem Uplifts the Downtrodden
But what with being rejected from learning Torah for something he couldn't help or being attacked by Yishmaelites for exiling himself (or trying to anyway) to a place of Torah, my husband was in desperate straits by the time he landed at that Litvish charedi yeshivah.
And the initial rejection by the Litvish charedi yeshivah (as described in the previous post) crushed him as the final blow in his effort to do something he had thought Hashem wanted and something that Judaism considers as worth everything.
"I was just this little innocent Moroccan boy," my husband still relates with great feeling, "who didn't know anything about background or political or identity differences with regard to yeshivahs, but just wanted to learn Torah. And I couldn't understand why this was happening to me. I should've known that dark beige pants or sneakers meant anything to anyone? I wore a kippah, I wore tzitzit, and I wanted to learn Torah. What did anything else matter? I didn't understand all the nuances back then. I just felt rejected by everyone."
So he was in a very low place by the time the Rosh Yeshivah appeared on the steps.
Yet it was all a way of Hashem guiding him—literally taking my husband's hand and pulling him away from this place and away from that place—until my husband finally arrived at the place Hashem wanted him to be.
And that's the whole story. (I think...)