Thursday, August 9, 2007

Differences in Davenen


Most of you know by now that I've moved out of Brooklyn and moved to a suburban/rural community upstate. If you can't figure out where it is I'm talking about out then you're not a "Heimisher." One of the delights of this move, and the sunbsequent schedule changes imposed by it, is the fact that you get to daven on the bus every morning. Shacharis has a whole different meaning when it's done in bumper-to-bumper traffic on a grumbling bus, while trying to maintain your balance during Shemone Esrei when the driver makes a sharp turn into the Turnpike. There's also the fact that you need to basically remain seated from beginning to end - with some standing possible if you're in the aisle seat - but no roaming the shul from one end to the other. You also need to be there from beginning to end; there's no arriving at Ashrei and leaving after Shemone Esrei like some us are known to do when we daven at a "stationary" shul. The only problem is that if you're forced to sit in a window seat you're also forced to sit during the whole davenen, including Shemone Esrei and Kedushah.

There's this one young man who davens on the bus who has a real geshmak in davenen. I mean that he sings the L-rd's praises as if he was just granted life all over again, which we all are. He utters every word clearly and meticulously, and has a nice tune to it as well. Like the old Yiddish-Teitsch Siddur says: M' darf davenen gelassen punkt vee m'tzeilt gelt. The only problem is that the rest of the minyan is a bit quicker than him, and he always is way behind the minyan come Shema or Shemone Esrei. So, our young man, who's also very careful about davenen with a minyan, skips most of Pesukei DeZimroh and rushes ahead to Birchos Krias Shema. He davens Shemone Esrei with the minyan and then proceeds to finish up what he missed after he finishes the back end, including Oleinu. This is not a one-time oiccurence; but rather a daily ritual. All this seems like somewhat of a paradox to me, although he's seemingly doing the "right thing."

It seems to me, and this is apparently the Chassidic approach, that davenen is more than just fulfilling your Shulchan Aruch obligations. Yes, we have an obligation to stick to the rules of davenen, but we also need to examine the Milsah BeTa'amoh that is so inherent in davenen. You can be Yotzeh the Hilchos Davenen daily by skipping to the end every day, but what kind of davenen is that? Is it ok to LeKatchilloh do this every single day? What I've seen over the years from Yidden Yerei Shomayim BeTachlis is that davenen needs to be done just the same no matter what, from the beginning and in the order it was made to be done. (with the possible exception of Hallel) If you arrive to shul when the Minyan is halfway done you don't skip ahead, but rather you daven just as if you were the first to arrive, from the very beginning. Otherwise it may be a body of Tefillos, but it has no "hent un fis." My only question is now: do I - in the spirit of Ahavas Yisroel - approach him, since he is an old friend, and tell him what I think about his daily routine, thus helping to make him a better person, or do I MMOB and let him enjoy his blissful existence?


Anonymous said...

I believe the Beis Yosef's Maggid took him to task for skipping pesukei d'zimra on a regular basis. (I don't have the volume right now so I can't check if my memory is serving correctly.) He should probably be davenning 'till Borchu at home.


maintain your balance during Shemone Esrei?
the halacha is clear on a bus you should sit during Shemone Esrei

Anonymous said...

Obviously if he enjoys Davening so much, he gets his "more than just.. Shulchan Oruch" obligations out of his daily ritual. I'd say leave him alone.

Besides, you might ask yourself about a similar paradox: Is it right to Daven getting thrown around while standing or sitting through Shmoneh Esreh on a daily basis?

Anonymous said...

Suggest that he start earlier if he can't keep up. This way, he can time his arrival at shmone esre at the same time as the minyan.

Aussie Echo said...

This doesn't answer your question - but maybe it does....
An erlicher and/or chassidishe yid should be davening in a "stationary" shul and not on a moving bus. I had the misfortune to daven mincha on that bus many years ago and I cannot imagine davening shacharis on it. There is no way one can daven with any sort of kavona on a bus.
I can understand having no choice in winter but since it is now summer (for you guys in the northern hemisphere) there is really no excuse.

Anonymous said...

In general, I think in any such situation as long as you open the conversation respectful of the other person there should be no issue. Let's say, opening by asking how he feels about having to skip around in davening - it presumes that he is feeling bad about it, and you don't start off sounding holier that thou.

I noticed you haven't taken up the ban on concerts in Israel. IMHO, many of us, bloggers and nonblogging mikveh newssharers, forget thatfor a yid everything must be placed in the context of our history, of all of Torah taught since Sinai. That is the common thread that we share, and even if the Gerrer chosid cannot trace the particular minhog of wearing his spodik to Moshe Rabbeinu, he can trace the history of how he came to wear it, and trace it in Torah to Hochon Likras Elokecho Yisroel.

We are taught that in the times of the Bais Hamikdosh, the Sanhedrin would send messengers to all gathering for yom tov to ensure separation of the genders. There are many facts implied in this: That the Sanhedrin could have simply issued a kol koreh, and that this kol koreh would have been ignored as far back as the Bais Hamikdosh standing, providing for the need for messengers to physically enforce this Kol Koreh. Do any of the opiners who blow off the Rabbonim who issue this and other edicts based on the fact that current frum social structure does not make then very effective realize this? Do we have to stop and think for too long to realize that most of our Neviim were completely ignored in their day, and yet they persisted with their message?

I am not sure that a ban on concerts will be helpful, yet interesting that this very type of event is what the statement about the Sanhedrin's messengers applies to. Perhaps the alternative is to provide low key Jewish events for kids who would otherwise go to non Jewish events. Perhaps the key is to post someone with experience with youth at the entrance to every hangout for frum kids on the fringes.

But to announce with triumph that the thousands of people who showed up for the concert showed great individualism and are appropriately hammering away at the power of Rabbonim is not only absurd - it shows a lack of ability to look back to the history we carry on our shoulder.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't find the reference in the Maggid Meisharim to the objection against skipping parts of Pesukei D'zimra. Maybe someone out there knows about it?

Anonymous said...

He is right al pi halocho.

However, the ideal is that the skipping should only be an occasional thing, not daily. If you know that he is on the level to appreciate the tochacho and fix the matter, you can tell him (carefully and properly). However, if he wouldn't be able to take it, I would say to better leave him alone, as he is yoitzei tefillah meikar hadin the way he is now. Shteit in Shulchan Aruch, toiv miat bikavonoh meharbois biloi kavonoh. I dare say that he is davening better now than others on the bus that are saying 'everything', but are not doing it keilu moineh maos nor with a geshmak.

Anonymous said...

The Tzig skirts any issues which may, chas vesholom be seen as critical of Lubavitch.That's why he never touched the concert with lead Lubavitcher artist and Lubaavitchs rabbis inability to say someting:Anything.Against or for the ban.
Maybe rabbi L in Monsey will have some influence of searching for emmes even when your 'team' seems to be wrong.

Derech agav:I saw a mayseh in Bais Moshiach(yeah, I know it's infantile......)and I would like to know if it's shayach that it's true.Here goes, I think it's this weeks edition.
An elderly Lubavitcher chosid was doing mivta tefillin in Tel Aviv when he chanced on a young man,who,after, leaving the restroom without washing his hands and with a lot cajoling was maskim to put on tefilllin.When the rabbi realized that the young man knew exactly how to put on tefillin and say shma without help he asked the guy who told him he was a yeshiva dropout from Bnei Brak who's father was a rov.The chosid begged him to come for shabbos to keep him and his wife company and also paid him to do so every week.Eventually the bochur became religous again and the father the snag from Bnei Brak travelled to New York to thank the Rebbe.He had however one question to ask:How does one lay tefillin on someone who does not wash hands after coming out of the bathroom, to which the Rebbe answered:You know the ammount of 'nachas ruach' the Aybishter has from a yid in Connecticut, who on yom kippur, has a shower, eats a 'festeh' bearkfast and drives to shul for Neilaha??You see that the tefillin helped without washing the hands.

(I can't believe that any father who had a freieh son would ask such a question, but whatever.To me its interesant to know if it would be the Rebbes style to say what nachas ruach the Aybishter has from a yid eating and driving to shul on yom kippue, the statement sounds extreme

Anonymous said...

It is certainly the Berditchever's style.

I think that for you to have read Tzig's mind is impossible, which is the only way you could have known your comment above. I am sure Avraham Fried spoke with his Rov about appearing - perhaps the fact that he had a prior commitment and the organizers would lose money if not? I don't know, but the Tzig is not all-commenting, and he had not commented on the Berlin Wall either.

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

HaLevay there would be time to comment on everything, but there isn't. Maybe now that you brought it up.

Anonymous said...

Why are you 'mishing' into this yingermans davening? Why are you not concentrating on YOUR avoido?
It appears to be a thread in your life to fadrei people to what you think is the correct way.According to your own admission this is a fine young man who seems to know what he is doing.
For starters:Why are you using 'boich sevoros' of what you have seen by others? The basic halacha AFAIK is indeed to skip pesukei dezimra because tefilla betzibbur is paramount.Your only question would be if this should be done every day.(Anyway the whole davening on a bus is a big bedieved, especially every day...)
Why not go check out the actual halacha or ask a rov, before you give us your 'hergeishim'?
(I think that you are trying to pull a Lubab on us here.I've noticed that Lubavitcher, even if they come late do not attempt to catch up .You probably meant this when you said that 'yirei shomayim betachlis' do so, and using circular Lubab reasoning, we know that according to Chabad you can only be a yerei shomayim if you learn chassidus, specifically chabad chassidus, so ergo, a yirei shomayim betachlis can only be a Lubab)

Hirshel Tzig - הירשל ציג said...

a word to the do-gooders here:

let me see get up 3 hours before you need to be at work, then we'll talk. The minyan on the bus is probably the slowest BaalBatim Minyan around. No 25 minute jobs there.

Anonymous said...


You talk like an am haaretz. Why don't you mentioned any poskim when discussing whether to skip or not to skip?