Must a Shul Select Only Someone Who Is Married To Be Chazan?
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- This topic has 18 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 2 months ago by iacisrmma.
January 1, 2018 4:34 pm at 4:34 pm #1440559
I noticed an ad here on YWN recently by a shul seeking candidates for their chazzan. The advertisement said nothing about the candidates’ yiddeshkeit, musical skills, lamdus, etc but did clearly say that all candidates “must be married”. I always thought that being married was preferable other factors being equal, but a chazzan who was known to be a yireh shamayim and talmid chacham or had a beautiful voice for davening was preferable over those candidates who who were not so highly regarded but were married.January 1, 2018 5:34 pm at 5:34 pm #1440680
Since it is very much possible to find a married yirei shamayim who can be chazzan, there’s rarely a need to go the b’dievedika route of taking someone who never married.January 1, 2018 5:34 pm at 5:34 pm #1440661
I am not sure what ad you are referring to. Was it a full time position or for the yomim noraim? While it is preferable for the Yomim Noraim it is not required. However, the shul can be makpid on only having a married person apply. I would think they will interview those applying for the position and ask about the other areas that you mentioned.January 1, 2018 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #1440721WolfishMusingsParticipant
It is brought down that, for the Yomim Noraim, the Shliach Tzibur should be married. It is not an absolute requirement, but highly preferable.
For the rest of the year, there is no such restriction.
The WolfJanuary 1, 2018 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #1440731Neville ChaimBerlinParticipant
“For the rest of the year, there is no such restriction.”
For a professional, paid chazzan the rules apply year round (married isn’t the only one). For a casual Chazzan, it doesn’t apply. No matter, I have a sneaking suspicion that this thread was not made to discuss the halachah of chazzanim, but rather an opportunity to get on the soap box about a personal pet peeve.January 1, 2018 7:18 pm at 7:18 pm #1440733
Wolf: While halachlically there is no restriction, the individual tzibbur may have a reason why they are requesting only married men apply. They have every right to make that a requirement for the position.January 1, 2018 7:20 pm at 7:20 pm #1440741unomminParticipant
A shul should pick someone who can motivate the people. Given the most frum people nowadays have absolutely no appreciation for the value, importance, and application of the aesthetic in our religious lives, why should it matter if the person can sing, understand the way the music is supposed to convey the emotion of the words, or anything like that.
It is by far more important that the person who will lead the davening suffer and cry through the screaming of the words be married. That’s where we’re holding now.
I hope that the Maharil isn’t reading this blog.January 1, 2018 7:24 pm at 7:24 pm #1440756HONDA613Participant
I am a single person & I daven Yomim Noraim with much more gifeelechtz then many married people doJanuary 1, 2018 7:31 pm at 7:31 pm #1440767
Honda, you also have some ego.January 1, 2018 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm #1440779
To Honda 613….My Yiddish-English dictionary had no listing for “gifeelechtz” but I assume it means something like “with great emotion and kavanah”. I would agree with you entirely that logically, there is no logical nexus between a yid being married and having the requisite attributes for being a chazzan (in terms of his yiddishkeit, lamdus, etc).
As to the banner ad I noticed posted on the right side of the page, the ad simply said it was for “a European Shul” and presumably a full time position but it did not mention the name of the country or city where the shul was located.
P.S. I personally prefer a chazzan who has the ability to invoke emotions with the old-time nigunnim and a modest degree of chazanus but who can also articualte the ivrit so it is intelligible, I’m not a big fan of every other teffilah having to be rearranged into a shlomo karlbach nigun….Chazan YM Helfgott is someone whom I have had the privilege to hear many times and meets that standard for me along with Yanky Lemer (both at MO shuls) but I’m certain others have their own preferences.January 2, 2018 12:00 am at 12:00 am #1440820
GH: There is no logical nexus except that the Shulchan Aruch mentions (quoting the Kol Bo) that for the Yomim Noraim it is preferable. (581:1 and Mishna Berurah sif koton Yud Gimmel)
And yes, all things being equal one should choose a talmud chachom who is not married. But to this kehilla having someone married is important to them.January 2, 2018 12:24 am at 12:24 am #1440842
You find many more married talmidei chachamim than unmarried talmidei chachamim. So it is rare to ever need to resort to a single chazzan.January 2, 2018 3:47 pm at 3:47 pm #1441178
“You find many more married talmidei chachamim than unmarried talmidei chachamim”
Obviously as a numbers matter, given that such a large percentage of the male segment of the tzibur is married.. However, there are many fine young chazzonim who have not yet met their besschert so no reason to exclude them other then the preferences of the particular shul (just as the are more likely to prefer a married Rav). Its funny that l’havdil among the reform congregations that have gay clergy, there was a recent brogias because in one publicized case, the lay leadership wanted a “rav” in a committed relationship. Marriage (however defined) seems to be the preferred state of affairs.January 2, 2018 5:05 pm at 5:05 pm #1441251
GH: It may be a psak of a former Rav of that shul (or town). We don’t know the shul so stating “so no reason to exclude them other then the preferences of the particular shul” is very unfair.January 2, 2018 5:16 pm at 5:16 pm #1441272
“However, there are many fine young chazzonim who have not yet met their besschert so no reason to exclude them”
Sure there’s reason to exclude the. We have Halachas. And the Halachas tell us to exclude them.January 2, 2018 8:30 pm at 8:30 pm #1441373☢️ Rand0m3x 🎲Participant
It is by far more important that the person who will lead the davening
suffer and cry through the screaming of the words be married.
You might want to rewrite that.January 2, 2018 8:49 pm at 8:49 pm #1441379WolfishMusingsParticipant
And the Halachas tell us to exclude them.
Where does halacha say to exclude a shliach tzibbur who is unmarried? Even for the Yomim Noraim, it’s only a preference, not an absolute requirement.
The WolfJanuary 2, 2018 8:49 pm at 8:49 pm #1441384Neville ChaimBerlinParticipant
“It is by far more important that the person who will lead the davening suffer and cry through the screaming of the words be married. That’s where we’re holding now.
I hope that the Maharil isn’t reading this blog.”
Why do we get this garbage through? The CR should preserve some integrity.January 3, 2018 1:16 am at 1:16 am #1441458
Obviously there is no halacha requiring a marrid chazan even on the yamim noraim. At the same time there are lits of chazal, who bring down a preference for a married chazon, other factors being equal. The recent ad here to the right side of the page by a Eruopean shul seeking a “married chazana’ triggerd the thtread, not any “agenda”. Also unmentioned is the fact that an unmarried chazan would have more time to focus on the shul, provide intruction for bar mitzvah preparation for the younger kids, etc.
.January 3, 2018 6:33 am at 6:33 am #1441474
GH: Or the opposite. Being single, he may have to travel for shidduch purposes leaving less time to devote to the shul. IMHO, you are reading to much into this. They state clearly the person must be married. Unless you personally are an unmarried chazan why is it bothering you? In addition, where does it say that the chazzan would also be the baal koreh? Maybe the shul already has one and he already deals with the bar mitzvah bochurim. I commend the shul for being up front in the ad by stating the marriage requirement.January 4, 2018 10:31 am at 10:31 am #1442662hujuParticipant
How about a halachicly divorced chazzan?January 4, 2018 11:56 am at 11:56 am #1442834GAONParticipant
“I would agree with you entirely that logically, there is no logical nexus between a yid being married and having the requisite attributes for being a chazzan”
Yes there is a sense of logic mentioned, differentiating between one with children and one with not – the Mishna in Horayos ch 1:4 nullifies זקן שלא ראוי לבנים for Sanhedrin, Rashi asks:
? או זקן שאין ראוי לבנים. וקשיא לי מפני מה אין ראוי להוראה
However, the Rambam in Pirush explains a fascinating pshat:
“וזקן שלא ראה בנים אינו כשר לדיני נפשות – לפי שהוא אכזרי ולא ירחם על בני אדם – לפי שאינו יודע אהבת הבנים ואנו צריכים להסכמת כולם על ההוראה שנאמר ואם כל עדת ישראל ישגו
I recall the same logic has been applied to a Chazan on Yamim Noraim, as a leKatchilah…January 4, 2018 2:22 pm at 2:22 pm #1442934
I actually called the number yesterday and asked the question. The person responded with a number of reasons. First, they have only had married chazonim in the past and don’t want to change. Two, most of the members are married couples with families and they expect the chazan to be part of the “social fabric” which would include having other couples over for various seudos. They feel this is not entirely in the realm for someone who is single. Three, they recently had someone who is divorced in a position of authority and it didn’t work out well, and they are leery of having a repeat of the situation by having someone who is not married.
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