Video of Throwing Towels

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    Pro Jews

    I’m just curious if anyone here thinks it’s beneficial to ANYONE to post a video of chassidim following their minhag to throw towels at the person who lights menorah. I personally am very taken aback that such a video was posted on a Jewish website. Are we trying to promote anti-semitism or people making fools out of us? To me, it looks fine, it’s a minhag that I don’t abide by, but fine. Other people do. But for someone who’s cynical towards Judaism or Chassidus, this is the perfect video to spark mockery and scorn. I am very disturbed.


    If it puts pressure on these fools to stop this “Minhag” then it’s 100% beneficial.

    a fellow arab

    I understand you’re trying to be open- minded, but this is taking it a bit too far. What those hassidim were doing was DANGEROUS! Plain and simple. We cannot promote such a thing even at the call of ‘ahavas yisroel.’


    I refuse to believe this is an actual minhag with any basis in anything real or holy.

    As far as I know, chassidim, same as the rest of us, are born with a yetzer hara, and get a yetzer tov when it’s time for them to start behaving like good Jews who take responsibility for their actions. And as is the case with the rest of us Yidden, the two both have great influence on their actions.

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    I was just flipping through the home page of the Yeshiva World, and I saw the article. It makes it clear that this custom is a valid custom and there is a basis for it. Hence, I don’t think that it entails loshon hora.

    I hear your concern, but I think there is a greater concern that if someone reads your post and hadn’t seen the original article, your post would lead them to think negatively of the Chassidim. Actually, that is what happened to me when I read your post. Boruch Hashem, I just “happened” to read the article , so it gave me an entirely different perspective.

    On the other hand, the second post in this thread is definitely motzi shem ra and completely uncalled-for.


    @Pro Jews- after reading Moshe1994’s response, I agree with you. I am pained to see such virulent negativity on a Jewish site.


    There’s an article by Rabbi Yair Hoffman called “The

    Towel at the Shamash Minhag” that you can find online.

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    Golfer and moshe have done a perfect job to prove the OP right. Also, they are doing a good job in promoting many negative stereotypes about Litvaks…

    The article with the video was perfectly respectful. YWN probably realized that such a video was going around, and Rabbi Hoffman wrote an article reminding everything that it’s a legitimate minhag.

    I hadn’t heard of it, and I found it interesting and well-written. I like to believe that it was posted for people to view as interesting, not to view it hatefully.

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    Randomex- that is the same article as the one in YWN’s home page. That is the one I quoted (I don’t think my post was up yet when you wrote yours).

    I just reread it – it quotes the Klausenberger Rebbe as holding of this Minhag and giving explanations for it. So I think people should be careful about what they say. If it’s not your minhag, don’t do it, but don’t put it down.

    If you’re really concerned about chilul Hashem, writing posts stating that it’s a chilul Hashem are what causes a chilul Hashem. If your concern is chilul Hashem, post the reasons for the minhag instead of putting it down.


    Throwing towels at someone holding a fire is not exactly the smartest minhag

    Whatever the reason might be for trying to get the person to lose Kavanah, you should use a safer way than throwing towels near a fire.

    I was told by a Rav how many yidden were R’L in the burn unit at Staten Island Hospital because fire wasnt taken seriously


    @ProSemGirls -@Pro Jews- after reading Moshe1994’s response, I agree with you. I am pained to see such virulent negativity on a Jewish site.

    I think (hope) you meant virulent rationality.


    IDK, this seems pretty ridiculous to me…

    Every single thing that was done in past generations does not necessarily need to be copied, much less turned into some sort of religious ritual.

    To quote a similar idea from a somewhat different context:

    running the risk of leaving the mistaken impression (particularly on impressionable young minds) that this is somehow a legitimate practice consistent with Halachic-observant Judaism just because some people have done it at some point in the past.

    The mistakes of the past must be taught very carefully so as not either legitimize those mistakes, or belittle those who have made them. This is a delicate balance

    Photoshopping tznius

    As to whether there was any point in publicizing this video (besides bringing in ad revenue for YWN, of course;), perhaps it should serve as the starting point of a conversation about what practices from the past should or should not be reenacted.

    Little Froggie

    I, for one, do appreciate that article. You see, I chanced by such an occurrence, for the first time, in a Shule other that the one I frequent, and I observed this occurrence. I pashut thought everyone lost their senses, it seemed SO OBSURD!! What a hashgacha to have read all about it here just today!!


    It’s a cool way to storytell and teach us about how much we had to go through to remain committed to Yiddishkeit.

    Apology & Update please:

    Apology: I watched the 2014 YWN video and wrote a couple of critical responses that weren’t approved.

    I’m sorry because my comments were ignorant, judgmental, and harsh.

    Ignorance et al: I hadn’t read the article at the time but posted in height of feeling disturbed by the video.

    After learning more, it reminds me of eating maror on Pesach to symbolize the bitterness that we bore in Egypt.

    Here is an excerpt from YWN:

    “…it is a genuine Minhag that dates back hundreds of years. In a nutshell, this is what is done:

    In Chassidish communities of Poland and Hungary, it has been the custom when the Shamash is ready to light the Chanukah candles in shul, for children and others to throw hand towels and other items at him both before and during the lighting.

    The custom is still practiced today in numerous Chassidish minyanim.

    [Vishnitz] page 31).

    What is the reason for this custom and where does it come from?

    The custom is cited in the name of the Sanzer Rav, but quite feasibly could have dated before this as well. The Halichos Chaim, written by Rabbi Aharon Kluger cites the minhagim of the Klausenberger Rebbe Rav Yekusiel Halbershtam (Chanukah p.18) and explains that the purpose of this custom was to vividly demonstrate how things were during the time of the Greeks and the Hellenists when a Jew wished to perform a Mitzvah. He was laughed and jeered at, unless the Mitzvah was performed in their specific Hellenizing way.

    Yet another given for this custom by the Klausenberger Rebbe is that on the chance that the Shamash feels a sense of empowerment and haughtiness in fulfilling this Mitzvah so publicly. The clothing and towels are thrown at him to demonstrate that he has accomplished nothing (See Yehi Ohr 5733 p.67).

    The custom to light in shul only dates to the times of the late Rishonim. It is interesting to note that neither the Rambam, the Rif, the Rosh, the Ohr Zaruah, the Eshkol, Rashi, nor the Machzor Vitri mentions the custom of lighting in shul. The earliest authority to mention the custom is the Baal HaIttur. Indeed, the first to mention that a blessing is recited is Rav Yitzchok Perfet, the Rivash (1326-1408). The Maharam Shick (YD) stated that the Chasam Sofer actually did not recite a blessing when lighting in shul.” (YWN 2014)

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    Better yet, perhaps it should serve as a starting point for working on being “dan l’kaf zchus” and seeing how we can look at these people favorably and find good things to say about them (instead of the opposite). Which gives me an idea…


    That video is an extreme example, presumably taken at a yeshiva without supervision, rather than a shul. As someone commented on the article: many would fulfil this minhag by half heartedly throwing a towel or two, not the litzonus and disregard for safety shown on that particular video.

    🐵 ⌨ Gamanit

    My husband was in a shul that throws towels by menorah lighting. He says the reason given was that it’s a reminder to all that they are not yotze with this lighting- they must still light their own menorah at home.

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    LB + 1,000!


    “That video is an extreme example, presumably taken at a yeshiva without supervision, rather than a shul. As someone commented on the article: many would fulfil this minhag by half heartedly throwing a towel or two, not the litzonus and disregard for safety shown on that particular video.”

    This is a good point.

    I’m not making any comments about the video or the minhag, but if someone would put out a video of the stuff that goes on in some shuls (including litvish shuls) on Simchas Torah, I’m sure many people would have similar reactions.

    Maybe we should abolish Simchas Torah?


    There are safer ways to remind people they are not Yotze than throwing towels at a person holding a fire.

    And have have to make fences around things, Just because the idea is just to throw a towel or 2 nowhere near the person, some people disregard this and are throwing at the person hold the fire. Just like we must make other Takanos to prevent bad things from happening

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕

    Maybe we should abolish Simchas Torah?

    And Purim.


    I wonder whether some so-called “minhagim” don’t originate with some basic act of thoughtfulness that is subsequently imitated by onlookers out of context.

    For example, setting up an oil menorah can be a messy job. Perhaps on one such occasion, a leader helpfully tossed a towel to the fellow who needed it and the event took on a life of its own.


    So that’s actually an article!

    By Rabbi Yair Hoffman!

    On this site!

    That I missed…

    Must have been paying too much attention to things happening IRL.

    Slackening off on…


    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    “Must have been paying too much attention to things happening IRL”

    Wow! Wish I could say the same…


    On this day of Chanukah, the 3rd

    I’m sending a Bracha, a wish and a word

    For Lilmod ulelamaid to hear

    That at this time Chanukah next year

    You’ll be so busy in your own home

    You won’t have time to read this poem


    I don’t think the actual minhag was to act you a bunch of bochurim throwing towels like mishagoyim as the minhag most likely to throw a towel before the Bracha & these bochurim wanted to have some fun so they kept throwing it over & over gain. The bochurim were even smiling in the video.

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    Amen! That’s so sweet of you! Got confused for a moment there – it’s the 4rth night here!


    golfer I second your bracha for LU!!! 🙂

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    Amen! “kiflayim l’mevorachas” (double the bracha for the one who gave it!)

    Pro Jews

    you know what? we should just allow everyone to live their lives as they see fit. we also do weird things sometimes. who doesnt? everyone is strange to someone else. so live and let live. at this point thats my motto.


    Live and let live is one of those ideas that infiltrated our ranks from secular society. Some things that we see in secular society are blatantly obviously not good and not for us. There are a lot of other ideas that seem smart and easy to adopt, even if they don’t really align with our hashkafos.

    The Hellenists had ideas that some of us fell for too. Not every Yid joined Mattisyahu in the war against the Greeks. And Mattisyahu doesn’t seem to have taken live and let live as his motto. Wasn’t it something else?

    Maybe you want to think about changing your motto, PJ.

    Anybody want to come up with a good motto for PJ, in honor of our victory against Yavan?

    (Please nothing along the lines of, “All the oil in those sufganiyot will soon have you buying a bigger size coat”)

    Lilmod Ulelamaid

    Golfer – “Live and let live” is an appropriate motto in certain cases. This case is one of them. They have a certain Minhag that has a basis and Rabbinical backing. It is none of your business.

    The comparison to the Maccabees and Hellenists is completely inaccurate:

    1. The Hellenists weren’t just “living and let living”. They were copying.

    2. The Hellenists were oiver on clear-cut issurim.

    3. The Maccabees told the Yidden to fight the Yevanim (and maybe the Helenists? I have to brush up on my Chanuka history). They were allowed and supposed to do this because the Gedolim of their time told them to.

    There are times when we are supposed to give mussar. This is not one of them. And even if there were a chiyuv to give mussar, it would have to be given to the people doing it. You are not allowed to speak badly about one person to another. That is completely assur.

    They have Rabbinal backing. This is their Minhag. Leave them alone. Our obligation is to judge favorably.

    So, yes, in this case, “live and let live” is the right attitude.


    “All the oil in those sufganiyot will soon have you buying a bigger size coat”(golfer)

    golfer: Did you make this up? It’s a nice lyric to keep in mind when tempted to eat another [latke in my case].

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