Monday, September 27, 2010

Men Behaving Badly During Davening

A Public Service Announcement to the folks I davened with on Sunday:




To the fellow davening next to me:

It's bad enough that the shliach tzibur (prayer leader) for Shacharis is reciting the Chazaras HaShatz (the repitition of the amidah) so low that I can barely hear him.  Please don't compound the problem by saying your "catch up" davening loudly next to me.  I believe that, even though you are a member in the shul and I am only a guest, my right to hear the chazzan trumps your "right" to say Az Yashir in a loud voice.  An even better idea would be to come on time next time so that you can say Az Yashir when the rest of the congregation is doing so. And you didn't make matters any better when you recited portions of your (silent) Amidah out loud.


To the parade of people marching to and from the sukkah at the start of Hallel:

Yes, it's a nice minhag (custom) to bentch lulav and esrog in the sukkah.  I get it, I really do.  But if doing so is going to result in your missing half of Hallel, then you're better off just bentching lulav by your seat.  I highly doubt it's worth missing half of Hallel (I saw some of you coming back inside as we were up to "Ana HaShem..." just so that you can bentch lulav in the sukkah.  If the minhag means that much to you, then next time bentch lulav at home in your sukkah before coming to shul, or else come early and do it in the shul's sukkah before davening, or else just do it at your seat right before Hallel.

To the conversationalists:

I understand... it's a Sunday, it's Chol HaMoed, there's no work for most of you and you have plans for a great day with your families.  I get it, I really do.  But there's no reason to be discussing them (or any of the other minutiae) that is discussed during davening.  I was barely able to hear the Chazarras HaShatz for Mussaf because of all the talking in the shul.  Yes, I suppose I am partially to blame because I sit all the way in the back -- I suppose if I moved closer I might be able to hear better -- but I really shouldn't have to.  It's not as if the Shliach Tzibur for Mussaf was all that low -- he wasn't.  Absent the talking, I could have heard him perfectly where I was.   Once again, I'm willing to bet that even though I am only a guest and you are members, that my right to hear the chazzan trumps your "right" to discuss your plans for the day.  Perhaps, in the future, you might consider the following:

I am normally strongly opposed to the practice that some people have of removing their tallis and tefillin before the very end of davening.  Yet, I understand that sometimes people are in a rush because they have to get to work or because they have important plans that are time-sensitive.  So I'm dan l'kaf z'chus (I give the benefit of the doubt).  But I would much rather see you leave early and hold your discussions outside while the davening is still going on rather than have you discuss them in shul.  It's REALLY hard for me to be dan l'kaf z'chus when I hear you discussing things that are (a) not related to the davening and (b) don't HAVE to be discussed right then and there and (c) are discussed loudly enough that I can hear you a few rows away and can no longer hear the shliach tzibbur.  So, next time, how about leaving instead of talking?  Both are wrong, but at least if you leave, I have grounds on which to give you the benefit of the doubt.

The Wolf

27 comments:

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

Wolf, either you need to move until you find a shul that fits your sensitivities (and you may need to move a couple of dozen times until you realize the grass isn't greener on the other side) or you need to sit up front, put your tallis over your head and accept that too many people don't know the world exists more than 4 amos away from the noses.

ksil said...

wolf, been reading you for a long time....never imagined you were this judgemental.

my advice: chill out. if you need a shot of shnapps to get there, gezunta hait.

BrooklynWolf said...

Garnel,

Well, this isn't my regular shul, so I suppose it's not so bad.

Ksil,

I do have my "push button" issues and talking during davening is one of them.

Oh -- and I don't drink. :)

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I raised the issue of people coming to shul late and then doing their catch-up in a very loud voice with Prof. Shalom Carmy. He told me, I'm paraphrasing, to grow up and just daven. I think he was way wrong. I don't see why common courtesy has to go out the window when one goes to shul

Mike S. said...

Why was anyone saying Az yashir during chazarat hashatz any way? If you are late to shul, you are supposed to abbreviate p'sukei d'zimra to say shmoneh esrei with the kahal or mila b'mila with the sha'tz.

Anonymous said...

Mike:

Some people have a hakpodah of davening "b'seder", no matter when they come to shul.

The Leader, Garnel Ironheart said...

Wolf, it doesn't matter if it's your shul or not. Obnoxious behaviour is obnoxious behaviour. Unfortuntately, like Anonymous noted, there are people who think they're being pious but really just don't know the rules, also like your guys who have to bench esrog in the sukkah but miss half of hallel to do so. Their gain goes out with their loss, as Avos says.
But there is no perfect place. It drives my wife crazy but I actually daven at home a lot of the time just because the crazies in shul annoy me but I know it's not going to change so why aggravate myself?

Ezra said...

I agree with many of your points, but this "I was barely able to hear the Chazarras HaShatz for Mussaf" business is confusing me. Why this need to hear every last word of the Chazarras HaShatz, a tradition that is generally believed to have arisen before the advent of printing press and general Hebrew literacy to allow those who didn't/were unable to say the silent Amidah on there own to say Amen to the blessings they missed out on. Assuming you have a siddur and just said the silent Amidah, why this need to hear someone else repeat what you just said?

If your synagogue is having such a difficult time keeping people quiet, you guys should take a page from Rambam's playbook; when the congregants in the synagogue wouldn't stop talking during Chazarras HaShatz, he just instituted Heichi Kedusha (i.e. only saying the silent Amidah and not the repetition) as a regular practice. Sounds like it might be a good idea for your synagogue as well.

Mike S. said...

What sense does it make to have a "hakpada" to do something against the halacha? Doesn't that meet the definition of "Chasid shoteh?" And if you aren't saying shmoneh esrei with either the kahal or the sha"tz why not just daven at home since your tefilah is tefilat yachid anyway? I suppose you get schar halicha, but if it comes at the cost of disturbing the tzibur, what is the benefit?

Anonymous said...

Mike:

I don't know. I think it's from the Ari Z'l. I know of a guy who prevented a minyan from davening Shmoneh Esrey because he was number 10 and he was late and was catching up with Psukei Dzimra while the tzibur had to wait for him to reach Shmoneh Esrei.

Ben Torah said...

"I do have my "push button" issues and talking during davening is one of them."

So don't complain when others bring up their "push button" issues.

Say, like pritzus.

BrooklynWolf said...

BT,

Are you referring to my last post, or something else entirely?

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...

Mike,

I tend to take a "live and let live" approach with strangers. If you want to say Az Yashir when the Shatz is repeating SE... that's between you and God. When you say it loud enough that I can't hear it, then you're involving me as well.

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...

Sounds like it might be a good idea for your synagogue as well.

It's not my shul. I'm just an occasional guest there, so I have no power over ritual changes.

In addition, your suggestion assumes that they care enough to make said changes... I'm not certain that they do.

Perhaps all this is why I only daven there occasionally.

The Wolf

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

All the points you raised were right on. When I was responsible for a minyan in HHNE and later Maimonides, I didn't give constant mussar and halacha about not talking in shul. The students darn well knew it already. What I DID insist on every time was, if they must discuss something, they have to take it outside the shul. I won't judge their priorities, but I will insist on some respect for the beit knesset and the people davening.

Ben Torah said...

BT,

Are you referring to my last post, or something else entirely?

The Wolf


I am referring to your comment in this comment section that I quoted.

Ben Torah said...

I see what you are asking. No, it had nothing to do with your last post. Just a general point.

chaim1 said...

For a start a person with a low voice shouldn’t be a chazan even if he has yarziet. It may be a mitsva to daven in ah holy place like a shul but its certainly more mitsva to daven with minyan. Gd only listens to private davening if you are great. Missing the shaking of the lulav in hallel is of course not right it is considered part of the mitsva. You don’t mention what happened in krias hatora or hoshanos. A new minhag has developed that an ovel (and today two brothers both rebbes are) also goes round against the R’mo and partakes in Hakafos. Even Ashkenazim and rabbonim are copying. They consider their kovod more important than their parent’s. Non kovod of ones parents after death, missing kaddish etc is now quite normal. Its not only in ones lifetime that the present generation shows no respect.

ksil said...

"I tend to take a "live and let live" approach with strangers"

then why does it bother you when people take their talis off early, or leave shul a little early? (i happen to have a hard time sitting there mumbling a bunch of words that dont give me a lot of meaning to me for more than 45 minutes)

why does it bother you when folks go out to bench lulav in the sukka?

BrooklynWolf said...

Ksil,

then why does it bother you when people take their talis off early, or leave shul a little early?

Good question.

I suppose part of it is that I would like to believe that for most people the davening DOES have meaning. Of course, there are exceptions, but I'd hate to believe that the davening is totally meaningless for all those who leave early.

why does it bother you when folks go out to bench lulav in the sukka?

For the same reason that people purchase lottery tickets on their credit cards (and don't pay it off right away).

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

Wolf, you've hit on THE major problem with Orthodoxy today whether you realize it or not.
The problem: for too many people it's all about ritual.
Consider: two students in Yeshivah. One guy goes and davens every morning, says every word, but with a bored, faraway look on his eyes that makes it clear he's going through the motions but nothing more. The second second says krias shma and amidah but spends the rest of the time in a sort of trance as he tries with all his might to connect to the Kudsha Brich Hu and feel some of His love and goodness.
Who do you think the Rebbe is going to yell at? The guy who "didn't daven" every time even though he's there for the right reason and the other guy is just there because he has to be.
Look at the outside world. Who's the frummer guy in everyone's eyes? The guy in the Oreo cookie outfit with long peyos who beats his wife and steals from his workplace or the guy with the small suede kippah and modern clothing who quietly and meticulously makes sure he gives 15% of his income to charity every year no matter what? The guy in the outfit wins 10 times out of 10.
I suspect this is part of what's bugging you. Every example you brought is about someone going through the motions to show off how holy he is while missing the point of how to become holy in the first place. And if you called them on it, they'd look at you like you're crazy. No wonder it's so annoying.

ksil said...

ok., so i will ignore the "live and let live" comment....

Ben Torah said...

"Live and let live" (and "mind your own business" and all these similar cliches) is a distinctly non-Jewish attitude.

BrooklynWolf said...

"Live and let live" (and "mind your own business" and all these similar cliches) is a distinctly non-Jewish attitude.

That's fine. Nonetheless, I will generally refuse to criticize a person in public if it will cause him or her to be embarrassed.

The Wolf

Ksil said...

Ben Torah and wolf, I have to say that that attitude is a huge turnoff. Bein Adam lemakom is bein adam lamakom!

Not sure what u mean that it's a nonjewish concept.

chaim1 said...

quite simple.
a Jew is responsible for his fellow Jew. It is called 'arvus'. This has many meanings, he can make a brocho for him and some other mitsvot. But also he has to care for him to make sure he stays on the 'path'.

ksil said...

chaim, if this critique came from a place of arvus, or kiruv i would buy your argument.

"care for"..."right path"

treading dangerous