Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pray for what?

There seems to be a peculiar social contract that exists in shul. Let's say, for example, that you're the tenth guy who comes in. Relatively normal, right? And let's say that there's no chiyuv either. Unfortunately that's not as normal as we would like it to be, but in this case, let's say that's what happens. Moving along further, let's say that there's no one at the amud when you walk in, and even more than that, there's no one interested in going to the amud. The curious social contract I referred to above (look up if you don't remember my mentioning it [not there, there!] {that's better}) was that the tenth man is for some reason expected to be the one who leads the congregation in prayer. Tonight this scenario played out three times, except that only I was the actual tenth man. On the third time we hit a charm, but if not for him?

Let us more closely examine the phenomenon at hand. First of all, the reason I declined the podium was because I had done it last night; in point of fact I lead Maariv, so I don't think that I let anyone down at all here. But still, the curious thing is that of nine other people, I was the one being pressured to daven. All right, so maybe four are incapable, but the others? One was learning, which is fine, but hey, I wanted to learn Rambam too. Is my Rambam any less than what he was perusing? And another was telling me to go, even though he is of course fully capable of doing so himself. Why should I go instead of him? Because he's thirty years older than me? Ridiculous.

In the end it comes down to people simply not wanting to do it, which makes sense, because I also don't want to do it. But why should I do it and they not? Is it because I don't have a gartel? Or perhaps because I would know what I'm doing? It's not even like it can be taken as a compliment, because believe you me, the first barely-literate thirteen year old that walks in there will be feted something fierce if he agrees to descend before the congregation. Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.

93 comments:

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.
As someone who is never in the firing-line (i.e., never asked to ascend the podium), I have had the luxury of observing the phenomenon you describe. What has always intrigued me is why the offer to lead the congregation is refused by so many (in the presence of so few - to paraphrase the 20th century's greatest orator). Is it from genuine humility ("I'm not worthy to lead this group of deeply devoted people")? I doubt that since the conversations I overhear represent anything but a humble view of themselves. Don't know the tunes? Unlikely as most have heard these every day of their lives. Wish to give others the honor? Again, unlikely as they don't defer to their fellows on any other issue and generally demonstrate advanced ego strengths. Laziness? Thinking deep spiritual thoughts? Again unlikely as (a) they expend a lot of effort talking to eachother and (b) cover a lot of very mundane issues. All other explanations excluded, I suppose that this must be put down to yet another strange phenomenon of observant group psychology. Declining to say more, Leo d T.

Altie said...

can i ask abt the gartel? i was at the ohel the other day and i saw a few guys who didnt look married (they had the shlumpy look) and they put on gartels b4 going to the ohel.

is there such a concept that an unmarried bochur can where a gartel if he wants to?

le7 said...

Altie - First time I noticed that was when I went to the Ohel with TRS... before I never really was paying attention I guess. Just for going in to the Ohel the unmarried dudes don the (what a d word for gartel?).

Big N8t said...

Yiddish "gartel" – a sash or belt- worn around the waist during religious acts such as davening or writing a letter to the rebbe or actually going to the rebbe. A.k.a ''bendel''.

But since most unmarried bochurim dont happened to have gartels with them most of the time, we use either our belts (i.e put it over all clothing) or ''borow'' somebody's shoelaces, and tie em together :-)

TRS: good point, i call it the ''minyan anarchy'', if you ever come to switzerland you can visit the ''yekeh'' shul, they have lists and dates and all, so everybody knows when its his turn.

Big N8t said...

Yiddish "gartel" – a sash or belt- worn around the waist during religious acts such as davening or writing a letter to the rebbe or actually going to the rebbe. A.k.a ''bendel''.

But since most unmarried bochurim dont happened to have gartels with them most of the time, we use either our belts (i.e put it over all clothing) or ''borow'' somebody's shoelaces, and tie em together :-)

TRS: good point, i call it the ''minyan anarchy'', if you ever come to switzerland you can visit the ''yekeh'' shul, they have lists and dates and all, so everybody knows when its his turn.

Modeh B'Miktsd said...

Chagas bochurim where gartlach for davening as well as going to their rebbelach. Nu, so you're rebbe is better than there's I'm not going to argue but why do you trug der shoelace for the ohel but not for mincha?

Qtap said...

I'm inclined to ponder along the lines on Mr. Toot. IS not davening at the amud an honour, and therefor a good thign? Why would anyone not want to do so?Even the honour factor aside, davening for the congregation...wait, no I see your point. Dude, that's a lot of responsibility right there.

e said...

People refuse to daven for the amud, because when they were thirteen, all the adults around them refused to daven for the amud. Why did they refuse to daven for the amud? Because when they were thirteen, all the adults around them refused to daven for the amud.

What's considered a kibbud is really arbitrary. For example, maftir is considered more cool than other aliyos, but back in the day it was much less cool.

Dowy said...

Actually the real reason for this is that everyone is dying to lead the cong, but there is a halachah in Sh'A that one must refuse the honour 3 times before you accept, therefore everyone is hoping you will ask them and then they will say 'welll its ok'
'no really you go'
'i dont know im (something inaudable)'
'c'mon if you dont who will?"
"OK!"

Dowy said...

its quite confusing mind you might say for those who are none the wiser

Mottel said...

-Modeh: The FR once said that his temimim are not posul sifrei torah.
Whatever the reason bochurim don't wear a gartel, for writing a pan, yechidus (for which the ohel takes its place) etc. It's been ungenumen to do various hanhagos -wearing a gartel among them.

Mottel said...

Pink elephants dancing on blue beach balls with a green monkey playing the flute.
Excelsior!

The Real Shliach said...

LdT: "yet another strange phenomenon of observant group psychology."

We have lots of those!

Altie: You think shlumpie is reserved for bochurim alone?

Big N8t: They have lists? That's hilarious! What if someone doesn't show up on time, or refuses, or whatever? Oh right, I forget, this is yekkes we're talking about...

Modeh: Why is crooked letter.

Qtap: Exactly. Who wants responsibility?

e: I actually know a lot of thirteen year olds who love davening for the amud. I think the problem develops when they grow up a little, and seeing that no one else wants to daven, they realize what it is to be an adult.

Dowy: That must be it :)

Mottel: Huh?

Dowy said...

btw not eeveryone wears a gartel when they go to the ohel, er right?

The Real Shliach said...

Dowy: Only those who don't know better...

Altie said...

No, but I noticed that most men who were married were tucked in, looked neat and presentable, and had a jingle of keys in their pockets. Also a cell phone clipped to their belt. That's how I could tell.

Dowy said...

oh. lol. its ok then.

The Real Shliach said...

Altie: You sure those weren't bochurim? I know plenty who look like that (ahem).

My goal is to point out that you can't generalize, and that there are just as many presentable bochurim as yungermen, and the same goes for shlumps. You think men magically change when they get married? Ha!

(just kidding le7... sort of)

Dowy: Glad to have been of service.

Altie said...

No, I was people watching, (my mom takes forever at the ohel) and yes they were married. Although to be fair, there were some eligible looking young men who may not have been married. I didnt look at them for too long. (at least not while they were looking at me.)

Dont generalize. Okay, good lesson. For some reason you keep trying to point that out to me, and I'm still not getting it.

You know many bochurim who look presentable? Like who?

Oh yes, I know men dont change when they get married. Habbits are hard to break. Same goes for women too i guess.

The Real Shliach said...

Fair enough. I might also point out that a lot of the bochurim who hang out at the ohel tend to treat it like their bedrooms, and are more shlumpy than your average guy.

You're looking for a shidduch?

They say that men come into marriage expecting their wives not to change, and women come in expecting their husbands to change... and neither gets what they expect.

Altie said...

Maskim, sadly enough. (I hate when guys wear crocks with a suit. It gives it an awfull effect.)

Who isn't?

Too true. But I hear the end result is great, if you can stick it out in the beginning.

The Real Shliach said...

I'll point it out to them.

Right...

IY"H.

Mottel said...

-Altie: there are many, many well put together bochurim in the post zal age (it may be true that younger bochurim tend to be more shlumpy). If you're looking at dibs the entire time, it might explain alot however . . .

Altie said...

I've been past 1414. I know that.

No, I'm not 'looking at dibs.' Don't insult my intelligence.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Mottel: LOL I love the possul sifrei torah line. Will definitely use.

Re amud:13-year-olds like to go up to the amud because they are now all grown up. Then they turn fifteen and run into the heretical schmuck diq(upsidedownsuperscript'e')DhUQ nazi in mesivta and realize they can't read hebrew. This leaves said דקדוק as the sole candidate. He then gets up there and davens with the same mistakes as everybody else because it's too much trouble.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Halacha has nothing to do with it. Chances are either the asker or answerer doesn't know and the other one knows that and acts accordingly.

The Real Shliach said...

There's no dikduk guy in Lubavitch yeshivas...

Altie said...

29??? I got 15 and you got 29??? what happened? I was in the lead. What did you do, wait till the last 2nd and send all your grinches to vote?

The Real Shliach said...

Ha! I guess people like me more...

Altie said...

They do not. You did that on purpose. You rigged it....

The Real Shliach said...

Sore loser.

Altie said...

:) no I'm not. I'm just in shock.

Altie said...

well E only got one. so at least I'm still ahead of him. And the majority.

The Real Shliach said...

Yes, we're all very proud of you!

sarabonne said...

I highschool we always took turns leading davening for a whole week. Fortunately, I was only picked once. (Mind you this was an all girls school.)

The Real Shliach said...

Yes, yeshivas also work on a similar system. The problem arises when there's no top-down authority who can impose their authority on the plebs.

jewpublic club said...

Lets understand the other side of this story - the problem is with proper understanding the shulchan aruch - Alter Rebbe just had to say it - "if someone, except important people, ask you to daven at the amud - the first answer should be no, you don't want to be BAAL GAVA do you!? At second request - let them know, you could, unless there is someone who is also available, the third request, since you're not BAAL GAVA, what business do you have to refuse Amud and wasting time of congregation by not refusing it? That's Alter Reebbe. Now, how do most of us interpret this understanding? Since in Lubavitch, we're all considered pnimiusdik, and not BAAL GAVA at all, even more than what is needed, most of the time no one makes the first attempt to ask the first time, for anyone who dares to ask will be looked at as if he is from a misnagdishe planet or something, now if there is no first time, there is no second, but the clock is ticking ... and like dirty laundry, well we don't like it but someone has to do it. So what motivates a typical Lubavitcher to ask? Still nothing.
So when a push comes to tenth man, we don't ask it - we demand it, "Hey the tenth men is here, go to daven!!!"
In other woids, we don't think that your RaMBaM is less important, we just want to go home after it's all over, so please don't argue, just hurry it up!
By the way I noticed that someone recognizes Baalei Batim by tucked in neat cloth? All I could say that she suffers from I-want-to-get-married-in-a-hurry vision, I want to wish her luck with that and binyan adei ad!

Altie said...

By the way I noticed that someone recognizes Baalei Batim by tucked in neat cloth? All I could say that she suffers from I-want-to-get-married-in-a-hurry vision, I want to wish her luck with that and binyan adei ad!

Who me? No way!

But I'll invite you to the wedding.

The Real Shliach said...

Jewpublic, that is possibly the best comment we've had here in a while. I think you hit both nails on the head- regarding davening and regarding Miss Altie.

Altie: Don't deny it.

Altie said...

TRS- is that ALL you think of me? C'mon theres more to me then that.

Don't deny it? Okay. Who wants the shadchanus gelt?

The Real Shliach said...

There is? Can you give us an example?

I'll take it.

Altie said...

trs- you can not insult me in public. I just wont stand for it.

Of course there is. Check out my blog, which someone (ahem) hasn't checked out in a long long time.

You can only take the money if you can find me a hubby. Thats how it works.

jewpublic club said...

TRS- is that ALL you think of me? C'mon theres more to me then that.
I do not belittle anyone, it is great and natural, I suffered from it my self, and got my binyan not too long ago

Altie said...

Thats not my point.

jewpublic club said...

what is?

Altie said...

My point is that whether or not Trs was joking, (' The Real Shliach said..There is? Can you give us an example?')I would like to be taken seriously. yes marriage is a good thing, but no thats not all I think about.

jewpublic club said...

Sorry if I offended you at first, but I NEVER meant that anyone would be obsessed about it 24/7. Its just that it is ... less than that! was that better?

Altie said...

No. You didn't insult me. TRS did.

And no, I don't think about marriage.

The Real Shliach said...

Altie: I'm sorry if you thought I was insulting you. I was certainly joking.

re: money: what are you looking for?

Altie said...

I certainly knew that, although even your jokes seem like insults.

:) Seriously? As if I would tell the whole blog world what I am looking for in a husband.

A shadchan will happen upon this page, suggest me a shidduch, I'll get married and it'll all be history.

jewpublic club said...

Its good to know I'm off the hook, got to go now.

The Real Shliach said...

Altie: The word, I believe, is "Edgy".

You told everyone what guys should look for on your blog... (hint hint)

Is that how it's going to happen?

jewpublic: au revoir

Altie said...

I'm not edgy.

No, on my blog I was responding to what big n8t wrote. And apparently, my list isnt accurate. Go figure. I try to get into a guys head, and think like they do, and I cant even manage that.

Now how bout I tell you what I want in a guy. I can just imagine people shaking their heads and saying, 'no, thats wrong. You cant ask for that. And that will just never work.' Cuz really, why would I know what I want?? Obviously everyone knows better than me.

(So you DID read my blog?)

No, thats not how its gonna happen. I dont plan on marrying a guy that I meet online.

The Real Shliach said...

"I try to get into a guys head, and think like they do, and I cant even manage that."

No women can. And vice-versa.
--
I read that post.
--
Nu nu. Some of them are really great (ask le7).

Altie said...

Apparently youve never watched the movie 'what women want.'

Okay. Good for you.

I don't need to ask her. I believe you.

The Real Shliach said...

Apparently. And even if I did I wouldn't believe it.

Altie said...

Duh cuz its fiction.

Fact: men and women are worlds apart, and will never meet. We know that.

le7 said...

Boys look for girls that won't nag them. (strike one).

The Real Shliach said...

Is that possible?

;)

Altie said...

Guys think all girls nag. No girl is safe from that.

The Real Shliach said...

Not that I would ever believe it... but maybe the guys are right?

Altie said...

No. Not all girls nag.

le7 said...

Altie - Girls who don't nag still nag. I don't nag but yeah...

Altie said...

Well apparently trs doesnt agree with all the other guys. so you're safe.

Mottel said...

All girls nag. It's not that they really nag, but when they speak to us, the male brain converts what they say into nagging.

Altie said...

Your mouth is moving but all I hear is bla bla bla.

Anonymous said...

Altie, by the looks of your comments it seems to me that your from brooklyn and dont have a drivers liscense.

Mottel said...

and why aren't people even trying to do my riddle? come on! Big points here people! (5 points for the first person to comment after reading this, 3 for the second, 2, for the 3, 1 for the fourth!)

Altie said...

Mottel- I tried! you make them super hard!

Anon- really. How would you know that?

le7 said...

Altie - TRS was speaking sarcastically... I mean delicately.

Altie said...

^ ^ I know that.

Mottel said...

There are bunch of sub riddles though! The elephant, the gnome . . .

Altie said...

u mean I have to guess them ALL? oh man.

The Real Shliach said...

Mottel: begging for comments on TRS? How gauche!

le7: touche

Cheerio said...

i remember when i tried to get into a guy's head... trs did not approve.

The Real Shliach said...

Recall that episode to me please?

sarabonne said...

Describing an encounter with a girl at a shabbas table. You ended up writing your own version.

The Real Shliach said...

Oh yes, I do recall.

e said...

The Real Shliach has left a new comment on the post "Pray for what?":

Mottel: begging for comments on TRS? How gauche!



Ouch!!

Mottel said...

I wasn't begging for comments, far be it. I'm just surprised by the sudden lack of enthusiasm when it's always been such a hit!

e said...

excuses, excuses.

Dowy said...

people please join us with matis, i dont usually spam -
http://apps.facebook.com/matisyahulive/?_fb_fromhash=28d648e53c77942c5bf8227ded501b74

Dowy said...

matis e-concert

Altie said...

wheres he broadcasting from?

Dowy said...

twitter HQ

Altie said...

Theres over 1000 viewers right now

The Real Shliach said...

e: :)

Mottel: I know.

Anonymous said...

There's no dikduk guy in Lubavitch yeshivas.
whyever not?

The Real Shliach said...

Because we're a bunch of bums?

e said...

I was kind of a dikduk guy in my day.

e said...

but never the "diqduq" type.

The Real Shliach said...

Exactly. Our dikduk pails in comparison.

e said...

Ahem, "pales." (You think i was only into Hebrew?)