Friday, October 15, 2010

Tachanun redux

So there's a bit of an ongoing discussion amongst the Lubavitchers at work regarding that old hobby horse of mine, tachanun. You see, our non-lubabitch brethren (of the hassidic ilk) very rarely, if ever, say the penitential prayers during the afternoon services. Why is this? I'm not quite sure. Perhaps they're worried about time. A noble trait, to be sure, but one that nonetheless rings hollow. If they wanted to say tachanun, they'd make time. Besides, from what I hear, they pretty much never say 'em anyway, regardless of context. But hey, that doesn't bother me. To each their own.

The question naturally arises when one davens with a minyan lead by these non-sayers: to say or not? Some are of the opinion that there's no need to say Tachanun, and in fact it's a bad thing. After all, there is the dictum of "Al tifrosh min hatzibbur," and when the minyan isn't saying something, why should we?

On the other hand, I am a Lubavitcher, and as such, I have the arrogance to assume that everything I do (mitzad Lubavitch) is the correct thing to do. In this case, when everyone is merrily skipping their way past tachanun and right onto aleinu, I begin to beat my chest and repent for my evil. When fellow Lubavitchers question my behavior, I ask them if they'd ever say tachanun on 19 Kislev. Obviously they wouldn't. So why is it any different here?

I could think of many examples where, as Lubavitchers, we thumb our noses at the world. Just because this time it would be convenient to go along with everyone, does that mean we should do it? I know that some people will think, "Well, it's not like you're eating chalav akum." But really, is it that different? They're both commandments from G-d.

What say you?