To discuss issues relevant to the large and growing world of young Frum families and singles who are fully engaged in the Olam HaTorah and Olam HaZeh. You take your career, learning, family (or dating) and play seriously (not necessarily in that order.) You are nervous about the anti-intellectual trends that you see in your community while being proud of being part of the Torah renaissance in our generation.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Michal's revenge - why shuls can be so dull

I find it very frustrating sometimes in Frum shuls as the davening can be ... so boring! I am really perturbed on Chol HaMoed and Rosh Chodesh when we say Hallel, but we just .... say Hallel! No emotion. No singing joyously. No clapping. Have you ever been to a concert? The place rocks. Ones whole body gets involved - singing, clapping, etc. I understand that there are halachik issues regarding clapping on Shabbos, but what about Rosh Chodesh? 'Hah Teinach' when it falls on a weekday and everyone is in a rush to get to work, but what about when it falls on a Sunday? Why is Hallel said as a 'dirge'? I once had an Iranian chavrusa in Yeshiva and he complained to me that when they said Hallel in Yeshiva he would get depressed!

Aside from sometimes during Kedusha on Shabbos, when was the last time that your shul rocked?

I call this 'Michal's revenge'. Michal bas Shaul who criticized her husband Dovid HaMelech for dancing raucously and joyously before the Aron HaShem and was severely rebuked by Dovid over it. Well based on our behavior nowadays in shul, it looks like Michal got the last laugh.


  • At 12/07/2005 6:04 PM, Blogger CM said…

    If davening is supposed to be analogous to talking to a king, why would you sing and clap when making a request of him?

    I think people don't get involved because they want to go home(or anywhere). Many of the verses are saying the same thing over and over again and the mind naturally wonders to other subjects. No singing, dancing and clapping is the result of peoples boredom. Fix the boredom and people would get involved.

  • At 12/13/2005 10:53 AM, Blogger J said…

    >>If davening is supposed to be analogous to talking to a king, why would you sing and clap when making a request of him?

    Good point.... for the middle berachos of Shemona Esrai - which is 'bakasha'. But Pesukei DeZimra is not Bakasha. The first and last three brachos are not 'bakasha'. It is Shira, Hodaa and the like. "Shiru LaHashem Shir Chadash". Why did the Leviim sing when bringing Korbonos. "Ivdu es Hashem BeSimcha" this includes "Avoda SheBelev - zu Tefila."

    Look at Rashi on the sugya in Brachos of "'Leshmoa El Harina Vel HaTifilah' - Bemakom Rina Shom Tehey Tefila" (I can't remember the daf off hand, but it is in the first perek) Rashi DEFINES a shul as a place where people sing the praises to Hashem.

    >> Fix the boredom and people would get involved.

    I think people would be less boreed if they where more physically and emotionally attached to what was going on. At a chasuna, we dance with fervor to the same tunes with the same words, but we are physically and emotionally engaged.

  • At 12/20/2005 1:28 PM, Blogger OJ said…

    Very good post. What do you think of the Carlebach Kabbolas Shabbos phenomenon ?

  • At 12/20/2005 11:32 PM, Blogger J said…

    Correct me if I am mistaken, but it seems that (in the US at least) a lot of the steam has gone out of the Carlbach Minyan phenomenon. A few years back it looked like it could be the start of new 'movement' within Judaism. Maybe in Israel it is still going on strong?
    I loved the ones that I attended (only a couple). On some level it was a bit overdone (I mean you don't have to sing everything in Kabalas Shabbos!) But overall it is a very positive way to daven. In my circles there is not (unfortunately IMHO) a great enthusiasm for it.

  • At 1/16/2006 12:33 AM, Anonymous Tzadik said…

    Check out Rabbi Goldberger's shul in Baltimore, if you get a chance. We sing and dance every Friday night, have no problem with clapping and moving around, and do a lot of singing, not just Kedusha. Even on "work" weekdays, we get pretty into Hallel. A lot of the nigunim were composed by our rabbi, and he even put out a CD (called "Lecha Dodi") last year.


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