June 8, 2018 6:42 am at 6:42 am #1536197
The rav in my shul, for certain necessary reasons, is currently not very active. He delegated many of his jobs to others, and asked me to deliver the daily gemara shiur before maariv. (I was privileged to learned in yeshiva, unlike most of the members in the shul.) Out of a courtesy to the rav, I agreed to, even though I could really do without this “shteller.”
It’s my first time giving a shiur, and I never realized how difficult it is. There are about five regulars who attend. One of them thinks that the shiur is an “ask-the-rabbi” session, and even though I don’t even have semicha, I’m asked about his pots and pans and tefillin and all sorts of questions. I finally managed to explain that I’m not a rabbi, even if I could translate a gemara, and I can’t answer those questions. So now, any time we learn a gemara which relates to halacha (we’re learning mo’ed katan, so most do), he has a whole litany of questions after seeing about one line of gemara. I told him many times I’m happy to go through the rishonim and shulchan aruch, but as long as it’s just a gemara-rashi shiur, he can’t expect to know the halacha off the bat. My words, if they even penetrate one ear, goes straight out the other.
A different member thinks he knows everything and tries to show off every bit of information he knows, whether or not it bears any connection to the subject at hand. We could learn a mishna about taking a haircut on chol hamoid and he’ll proudly point out that the king would take a haircut every day (THankfully, the first one didn’t say, “so what’s the halacha with a king on chol hamoid). This happens many times throughout the hour-long shiur and it’s thouroghly irritating.
The same person, plus another person, tend to space out and pick up a line here or there,and ask a question or make a comment which proves that very point. Also very annoying.
I don’t have the koach for this, it’s really very very annoying. I want to quit, but I feel I owe it to the rav, who’s a very special person and has helped me many times. I know the rav has that talent of telling people off without insulting them. I can just imagine him chuckling and saying “Where does this mishna mention a king? Let’s stay on topic,” and everyone would laugh along, but I don’t have that talent. In addition, four out of five of the regulars are considerably older than me, and it makes scolding, even friendly scolding, much harder.
Please! Any ideas? Thanks.June 8, 2018 10:05 am at 10:05 am #1536241
Say “Good question, I don’t know the answer” every time. And get used to saying it; you’ll have to say it often.June 8, 2018 11:16 am at 11:16 am #1536267
with time you will get top know your audience and you prepare differently catered to them this is coming from ten years daf yomi magid shiur me all the best hatzlachaJune 10, 2018 2:51 pm at 2:51 pm #1536730
☢️ 🚭 ☣️ Rand0m3x 🧠🕴️🎲Participant
I think you need to reframe the situation. Currently, you seem
to be thinking that you are meant to deliver a good shiur, to
yours and the participants’ satisfaction. I would suggest thinking
instead that you are there to fulfill the needs of those regulars,
to interact with them in whatever manner they will be happiest about.
(If you don’t like that suggestion, perhaps you should call the rav
and ask him how he usually handles the issues you are having.)June 13, 2018 8:39 am at 8:39 am #1538511
Thanks for your advice. I just want to clarify, to the last two posters: Although I agreed to deliver the shiur as a favor to the rav, I still only agreed to give a shiur, not to take over any entertaining presentations he may have delivered. If I prepare differently, or aim for the participants’ satisfaction via stopping every other sentence for some “naarishkeit” is nothing more than entertainment, and a recipe for white hair.June 14, 2018 11:50 am at 11:50 am #1539352
You have two choices:
1. Ask the rav for advice on how to handle the problem, and follow the advice.
2. Ignore the participants. If their questions or comments are distracting to you, raise your voice until you can’t hear them, or wear earplugs.
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