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?

86 comments:

e said...

I say nothing.

e said...

I merely subscribe.

sarabonne said...

You should do as the hippies of Tzfat do, go to a forest and start yelling.

The Real Shliach said...

e: really? Nothing to say? How uncharacteristic.

Sara: unfortunately, there are no forests in Manhattan.

Mottel said...

-E: as they tend to say - those who say the least often need to be heard the most :) Twas a pleasure seeing you at the party.

The Real Shliach said...

Nice of you to invite me to the party.

Yossi said...

In lakewood, I had to daven at a satmar shul, and they never do tachanun at mincha. I later asked Rabbi Winner, a rav and shliach in Brighton Beach, who said if it wouldn't cause friction, it would be better for me to say tachanun to myself.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

If it is mincha ktana, you do not say tachanun as that is the halacha and the beeber wearers are doing the right thing albeit by accident. If not, you should say (per my rav who would not like his name online) unless it's 5 or 28 iyar (per me.)

Since you are lubavitch and this is non-lubab halacha, feel free to do the opposite. ;)

Mottel said...

-TRS: You were invited!

The Real Shliach said...

Yossi: see, I like causing friction...

Modeh: what is this "small mincha" of which you write?

Mottel: wait, I was? When was this?

Modeh B"Miktsas said...

mincha ktana is 2.5 sha'os zmanios before shkia.
(shkia is the time after which snags no longer daven mincha, and chasidim no longer daven shacharis)

flutietootie said...

I say you follow your Rebbe. Since there is no wright or wrong answer and everyone does something different just follow your Rebbe.
I think it is like Kiddush. Some people stand, some sit, and some do a little of both. None of them are right or wrong just follow your minhag.

le7 said...

TRS - follow your <3

(I have been in college too long).

e said...

floutietootie: Oh really? There's no right or wrong? What is this? A creative writing class?

A Suede Ḥossid said...

I like it when people say there is no right or wrong but then go ahead and blame BP for the oil spill. Such inconsistency of thought...

A Suede Ḥossid said...

If Reb Mendel Futerfas could say mincha in Siberian camps, you can man up and say mincha at the face, lehavdil, of Chagas adversity.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

I mean, Tachnun at Mincha.

The Real Shliach said...

Modeh: And where does it say that you shouldn't say tachanun at that time?

Flutie: Nu, what did my Rebbe say?

le7: Too long.

e: Is there right and wrong?

CA: Right and wrong have nothing to do with responsibility.

Did he say tachanun in the camps?

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.;
From a different perspective, it intrigues me that not having to say tachanun (e.g. a groom is discovered hiding under one of the seats) produces such joy among congregants. I cannot think of a ready example, but, when it is learnt that other sections may be omitted from the daily prayers, there is little response, except perhaps a groan from those who've already said that part, and the davening moves on. With tachanun however its different - there is a distinct feeling of relief in the shul. Its not as if it adds a significant amount of time to a regular service either. Perhaps it has something to do with being reminded of one's iniquities? Not having to acknowledge them means not having to deal with your failings (theoretical or otherwise)...
Contemplating the mystery of tachanun, LdToot.

The Real Shliach said...

Failings?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Alle halacha sforim. (i.e. the one's I've read and recall off hand without taking time to look up, i.e. Mishna Brurah)

Leo de Toot said...

Dear Mr. R.S.
Au contraire! I in no way intended to suggest your failings as in "your" failings. As far as this humble commentator is concerned Mr. R.S. is quite without failings. It was a mere figure of speech (cf. bridegroom hiding under a chair...).
Most respectfully yours, LdT.

The Real Shliach said...

Modeh: your memory is not a source.

LdT: Oh, I know! I just couldn't think of anything intelligent to respond to you.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

No, but Mishna Brura is and that's the only one my memory is valid for. Certain chagas sects also omit tachanun on Fridays and Sundays.

The Real Shliach said...

Page number?

e said...

I don't think it's accurate to refer to all non-chabad hasids as "chagas."

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Are there also Nechy chassidim?

The Real Shliach said...

I'm not sure about that, but there's definitely plenty of nebby chassidim.

Breslover said...

We are Re'usah d'liba chasidim!!

The Real Shliach said...

Meaning what? You say tachanun or not?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

A re'usah is to a shtar what a sircha is to a cow's lung. What does it mean that Breslovers are re'usah d'liba chasidim? Safek Treyfos?

Bersolver said...

TRS: nothing to do with tachnun. I'm just pointing out that you chabad folk assume that if you're not chabad, then you're chagas, as if Chabad and Chagas were all there is. Maybe the non-Chabad are Re'usah d'liba?

Modeh: רעותא דליבא, not ריעותא
see http://www.tyndalearchive.com/tabs/jastrow/ (I can't make a link to individual pages)

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

Thanks, transliteration makes for some very funny misunderstandings sometimes.

Thanks for the link to Reform Rabbi Dr. Professor Orthodox Rabbi Marcus Jastrow.

The Real Shliach said...

Nu, so explain the difference between chagas and Re'usah d'liba.

breslover said...

I beg your pardon. You explain the difference, mister I-serve-God-with-my-intellect Chabadnick. I believe this matter is discussed extensively in Chabad chassidus.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

Lubavitchers don’t serve G-d with intellect. They serve G-d with their hearts, their soul, and their might.

The use intellect as the source of emotions to make sure that the emotions are pnimiyusdik and are actually about G-d as opposed to about their shuckeling.

e said...

I don't know why Jastrow is so looked down upon. Maybe it's because they immediately assume that anyone who studies Hebrew/Aramaic as a language and knows Greek must be an apikores.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Jastrow

breslover said...

Suede Hosid: You seem to be The Real Lubavticher around here. Maybe you can explain to these Cretans the difference between Reusah d'liba and chagas.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

I am the fake Lubavitcher here. The real Lubavitcher is e. I wasn’t aware that people here were from Crete, although I always suspected it about TRS.

TRS: why wouldn’t Reb Mendel say Tachnun in prison?

The Real Shliach said...

breslover: Is the matter discussed extensively? Can you provide a source for this assertion?

e: Actually, I always thought Jastrow was kind of cool.

CA: As everyone knows, Brighton=Crete.

I mean, is there a story of his having said it in the gulag?

breslover said...

TRS: Just stop. you're displaying an embarrassing ignorance of chassidus.

CA said...

Brighton, MA or Brighton Beach, NY?

The Real Shliach said...

breslover: Yes, it's very embarassing. Now please provide a source.

CA: MA. Wait, is Beth Israel in Brighton or Brookline?

bersolver said...

sefer halikkutim, erech reusah d'liba, somewhere in sefer hamamarim 5661, and balayla hahu 5620.

The Real Shliach said...

I'll have to get my hands on those, but meanwhile, I came across this interesting little article- http://www.nachalnovea.com/breslovcenter/articles/Comparing_Chabad_and_Breslev.pdf

I don't know how accurate it is, so don't attack me on that front.

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

e: He isn't looked down upon at all. They just don't like to talk about him too much because he busts too many myths. It's like Lubavitcher wine.

breslover:
Cretan == from Crete
Cretin == submoronic herring fresser.

CA: He wouldn't have said tachanun in prison because the labor camp days ended after shkia and you don't say tachanun that late k'mo she'biarnu.

A Suede Ḥossid said...

what if he was on guard duty?

Modeh B'Miktsas said...

They put prisoners on guard duty?

A Suede Ḥossid said...

There is a famous moshol that Reb Mendel Futerfas gave about how a beinoni fights with his yetzer horah.

He would serve the guard duty, and it would sometimes be quite cold (the camp being situated somewhere in Siberia). So, when it is cold, one really wants to go to sleep. But he knew: if he went to sleep, he’d freeze to death on a spot. So, he told himself: “If I didn’t go to sleep the last hour, I can stay awake for the next five minutes.” And he would count five minutes in his head. And then he would tell himself the same thing again. And this way he would stay awake the whole duration of the duty.

The same way, said Reb Mendel, a beinoni tells himself: “I can avoid sinning for the next five minutes...”. Etc.

Certified Ashkenazi said...

(I must say: I once tried this technique while driving from NYC to Boston late at night, and I still almost fell asleep. But then I realized that I was running low on gas, and I was on that stretch of I-95 that had almost no gas stations, and I stopped being sleepy.)

The Real Shliach said...

Who certified you?

Certified Ashkenazi said...

The chief rabbi of Israel. Indirectly.

Certified Ashkenazi said...

Maybe I should’ve said “certifiable”.

The Real Shliach said...

CA: Does he know about this?

Modeh: BTW, the chagas people don't say tachanun when davening mincha before katana either.

bersolver/e said...

my bad: that's supposed to be balayla hahu 5760.

modeh: In Soviet prison camps, prisoners occupied all sorts of moderately powerful positions. You didn't spend twenty years sitting in a cell.

The Real Shliach said...

I don't learn maamarim that were said in 5760.

Anonymous said...

damn! I mixed up 5760 and 1960. I meant 5720=1960.

Anonymous said...

you should learn that ma'amer anyway, because it rocks the house. And then listen to the tape and hear the rebbe cry when he talks about the jew who is far from god. good stuff.

The Real Shliach said...

Learn I have learned it. In the past. Once we hit shloshim yom lifnei hachag I'll go for it again IY"H.

Regardless, you don't sound like much of a breslover.

Anonymous said...

sheesh. it was just an example of a sect that might not appreciate being labeled chagas.

The Real Shliach said...

Gosh, I feel like I'm talking to myself here.

2. Did I ever label them chagas?

eat your words said...

Blogger The Real Shliach said...

CA: Does he know about this?

Modeh: BTW, the chagas people don't say tachanun when davening mincha before katana either.

Anonymous said...

nobody called breslov in particle chagas, but people were labeling non-chabad chassdim as chagas.

The Real Shliach said...

Did I mention Breslov?

The Real Shliach said...

Labels are very good for pigeon-holing people.

Anonymous said...

http://www.chabad.org/blogs/blog_cdo/aid/718642/jewish/Labels-Are-For-ShirtsAnd-For-People-Too.htm

Certified Ashkenazi said...

“Many years ago my son also went to a church camp.”

These people don’t get it

The Real Shliach said...

Excellent point she makes.

Anonymous said...

I'll take your word for it. I never read the article

The Real Shliach said...

CA: That point, on the other hand, was rather moronic.

Certified Ashkenazi said...

The point of the article is that you should label yourself, not others.

“When you marooned me on that G-d-forsaken spit of land, you forgot one very important thing, mate: I'm Captain Jack Sparrow.”

The Real Shliach said...

Lately I've been into the Hobbit. At least I was, but now I've realized that it's just a poor excuse for chassidus.

Certified Ashkenazi said...

Both my kalla and I don’t understand what that means. (And both are into Hobbit and, lehavdil, Chassidus.)

The Real Shliach said...

Have you ever read the backstory?

Certified Ashkenazi said...

Of Chassidus or, lehavdil, the Hobbit?

The Real Shliach said...

Either.

Certified Ashkenazi said...

Yes I have. There was once a professor of English literature who thought it was quite sad that England did not have its own mythology (since Anglo-Saxon mythology was destroyed by invading Normans) and had to borrow from Celtic mythology, either from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, or, even worse, from France (where all the King Arthur myths came from).

And since he thought that Harry Potter just wouldn’t do it, the professor wrote his own mythology basing it on the mythologies of other Northern Germanic peoples.

On the other side of Europe, there was a Jew who saw that many frum Yidden around him were spending hours learning Torah and doing mitzvos, but their Yiddishkeit was lacking a key component: Eibeshter. He decided to give Him to them.

The Real Shliach said...

You ever read the Silmarillion (or however it's spelled)?

Certified Ashkenazi said...

I started reading it. But Tolkien’s Universe is very different from, lehavdil, Chassidus. Tolkien was a Catholic. And he believed that there were two forces at play in the world: the good and the bad. The ring leaves Gollum because it’s trying to return to its master (the bad force at play), but then Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit, finds it (the good force at play).

Lehavdil, in Chassidus, there is only one Lord of the Rin... I mean, there is only one King of the Universe, and everything that happens is a result of the force of good. Monotheism, baby.

The Real Shliach said...

Which is exactly why it's a poor excuse for chassidus. There's a whole creation myth, and about twenty million pages of info, but at the end of the day, why do I need it? I have chassidus!

Certified Ashkenazi said...

Started reading it and then stopped, that is.

But one can skip the whole beginning of Silmarillion and still enjoy Tolkien’s writings. They are not about revealing his religious beliefs (unlike C.S. Lewis’s Narnia), they are just about telling a good story in the style of Nordic sagas.

The Real Shliach said...

Which is exactly why one should stick to The Hobbit and LOTR- even though much that remains mysterious can be explained, what's the point?

Certified Ashkenazi said...

but at the end of the day, why do I need it? I have chassidus!

Well, there are two points here. One is reading literature in search of some deep truth. Which is what I used to do as a teenager and stopped doing once I discovered Chassidus. And that’s why I still can’t read writers like Dostoyevsky who are preaching from the pages about morality and eternal truths. Thanks, I can just learn, lehavdil, Tanya.

But then there is reading literature for a good story, for immersion into another world, and just for entertainment. In these aspects, Tolkien’s writings are not replaced by Chassidus. (Although, one could argue whether or not a servant of Eibeshter should be entertained, but that’s another story.)

Which is exactly why one should stick to The Hobbit and LOTR- even though much that remains mysterious can be explained, what's the point?
The point is that other books have other stories.

Btw, I disagree with Tolkien’s views on technology.

The Real Shliach said...

But why bother breaking your head over other stories when you have judaism at your beck and call?

Certified Ashkenazi said...

You can ask that about any piece of entertainment. I suppose the simple answer is that sometimes people need to be entertained, just like sometimes they need to eat ice cream or sushi or croissants with sour cream.

The Real Shliach said...

There's entertainment, and there's replacement.