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Out Of The Mailbag – To YW Editor (Getting Ready For Chodesh Elul)

capital cover.jpgI attended a hearing at the US Capitol this morning. The room was filled with approximately 50 people, including US Representatives, business people, and congressional staffers. At the time to begin, one person at the front gave a light klop on a table and everyone immediately left their coffee and took their seats. When Congressmen spoke, people were quiet; when business-people spoke, people were quiet. With the exception of one Congressional person, no one’s cell phone rang; everyone knew, without having to be told, to silence or turn them off.

No one talked about sports, or family, or work, or jokes while others were speaking; no one needed to shush anyone, because people respected their peers, the assembly room, and the purpose for which they were there.

How lucky we would be if we were able to incorporate into the familiarity of our batei k’nesios and midrashos the respect and purpose these people gave to this proceeding.

20 Responses

  1. I once heard from a Rav who was always bothered by how people talk and disturb others during davening. He then went on to explain it by saying “those people just don’t beleive.” If we believed in our tefilot, if we actually thought about the fact that Hashem is in front of us, then we would act differently. I appreciate the story and I hope it reinforces the point to others as it has for me.

  2. RevAvrom

    if you stood in the court of the King, before the King, every day, 10 times a day, how long would proper behavior continue?

  3. Bizrizut,
    Chas V’Shalom they ‘don’t believe’!! That rav didn’t understand the yideshe people. We are told that we are believers and children of believers thats who we are. Now to explain the lack of decorum in our shuls.
    As reb Avrom points out that with time we can become lax in our ‘respect’ for a beis hatfilah. When one realizes the enourmous potential there is in tefilah one can understand the tremndous desire to interrupt that very task. The Satan knows that tefilah is extremally valuable, and tries to minimize the effect by introducing all sorts of narishkeit into this task. (I always wondered why people can’t put their phone on ‘vibrate’ mode, but with this explaination I no longer wonder.) How many times do we get together each week, month, year, lifetime to daven? Is this the mark of people who don’t believe? When we daven 21 tefilos a week, 10 hours at a minimum per week, how can you say that we don’t believe? If its lip service, that should last 2-3 hours but 10 solid hours a week should profess our belief that there is a creator and he runs the world. I believe that anyone of the people that attend the minyanim daily would give up their lives al-kidush hashem in a nano-second.

    Lets not bad mouth our fellow yidden. I enjoyed the article because the author did not trash yidden, but merely elabarated on how lucky we would be if we follow the decorum lesson.

  4. bizrizut

    no one was trashing or bad mouthing anyone

    when SEVERE avayros are being committed on a regular basis with no awareness of the SEVERE punishment and the bzoyin to HKB”H, it would be cruel not to try to point it out.

    i understand what that Rav meant.
    there is knowledge, and there is real awareness.
    we all know we are standing before the King of kings when we daven, but it is another matter to reach levels of actual awareness of this, as if we could see the King with our eyes.
    this takes constant work and growth and rising in levels.
    but it should not be ignored,or made light of.
    read the Mussar sefer of your choice, to see this spelled out much more clearly and forcefully.

  5. Fievel,

    apology accepted. Once again people like to be too literal. I think the point I was trying to made, was made. All those who take insult or read into every word of mine, like they should be reading a rashi…. well I cannot help.


  6. klazno4
    Great cop-out! “We’re all believers – but we got a yatzor horo”. Give me a break. The same to all the ganovim etc. sitting in jail? If you were in court, you’d probably even call these guys “victims”, right?
    If you got a job in the white house & served the president eight hours/day, you would still have respect for him four years later. And he’s a melech basor v’dom!!! But then again there’s no yaitzer horo right. Get a life, learn some Hilchos Biet Kneses, learn what davening means. Learn what can be accomplished with a t’filah b’kavanah.
    Do you think Moshe Rabainu acted like that when he davened his 515 t’filos to go into Eretz Yisroel? (Don’t forget he had a yaitzer horo too!)

  7. there is one thing going to a shul 3 times a day and reading/saying all the appropriate words in the siddur and there is another thing called dovenen with kavanah.

    I think that Bizrizut and the Rav he quoted is 100% on target. people don’t believe that their tefilla is really going to make a difference — not with:
    and the list goes on…

    some thoughts I heard from R’M.M.Weiss
    HaKol Kol Yaakov — and if we sully are mouths with improper speach, we are in dulling are primary tool.

    people get very upset if you talk too loud in a library, a play or movie — there was a time when people would be asked to leave for making noise. I’ve been told that at broadway productions they ask people to turn off all ringing devices.

  8. its all the schools fault, they teach us how to read but not what were reading, basic translation doesn’t cut it. they are lazy and don’t care and why would they? their school didn’t teach them, and chas vshalom a new dean suggests something new and everyone yells change is bad. CHANGE IS GOOD!the only thing guaranteed is that this WILL all change, our grandfathers grew up in a different and our grandchildren Y”H will grow up in a different world then us, one mans life span is too short to see this as the obvious but look at history it always happened and the people smart enough to realize it don’t want to bother working on it just to have the door slam in their face by some close minded shamis who think he knows best! fine bye

  9. #10 wrong, wrong and wrong! take some pride in who you are and what you can do. there are plenty of sefarim (in english) that can help you to understand and to teach your children.

  10. My daughters went to a high school in Boro Park
    They were given twenty minutes to daven every morning. If they went beyond that time the teachers were annoyed and showed it. They came away with the message that davening is not a priority.

    They were never taught about the Kedusha in a Shul.

    The school was to busy teaching ten Meforshim on every Posik in Chumash.

  11. Would one c”v talk during a movie? (If lo yatzur one c”v went to a theater.) What if one went to a movie three times a day. I still don’t think one would talk. Someone that talked or had their cell phone going off would immediately be thrown out of the theater. If we valued Krias HaTorah as much as watching a movie was valued no one would dream of talking (even bein gavra l’gavra) and anyone that did would be kicked out of shul at once! There is no excuse.

  12. I don’t believe that proper Kedushas Beis Haknesses, including talking in Shul, cell phones in Shul, etc., can be fully taught in school. This is one of those things that children learn best by example. If the fathers and mothers show proper decorum and respect in Shul, and demonstrate their displeasure at others who violate this decorum, then the children will likely grow up the same.
    And visa versa – the talkers will almost surely be raising children who lack the proper respect – and hence their Aveiroh stretches to another generation.
    Sometimes parents feel that once they send their children to Yeshiva that their jobs are done, and if the child does something not to their liking right away it’s “blame he school” time, “why doesn’t the Yeshiva teach this and that…”
    Parenting by example is a full-time job, even when the children are in Yeshiva, and most Middos – the Fifth Cheileck of Shulchan Orach – is best taught by the parents through example.

  13. anonymous – so, you take the time and teach them. when, you walk to shul with your kids / grandkids discuss the importance of tefilla and kavanah and proper decorum in the Shul. Once we are in Shul, teach them by example.

  14. If we’d have to daven just a few weeks at a time a couple of times a year and we got paid hundreds of thousands in cash, perks, kickbacks, kavod, and all other worldly pleasures accorded to today’s politicians, I think we could over come our Yetzer Hara as well.
    Though the letter WAS well written and respectful, the author’s intention of comparing today’s politicians and klal yisroel is hard to deny or conceal.
    I, for one think it is not only an unfair comparison, but a disparaging, insulting association as well.
    Let’s not sell ‘acheinu’ down the river!

  15. BORUCH HASHEM there are many shuls or yeshivos that are still quiet during davening. It is very easy to lay blame OIF YENNEM. When your children see you talking once in a while they will talk twice as much if not more. If the rov of the shul will make a point of no talking by stopping the CHAZZAN OR BAAL KOREH from continuing, otherwise he is walking out of the shul position, things might change. If fellow shul mates dont allow the few talkers to continue, they may stop or they may leave. KIVUN SHENAASEH SHNAYIM OI GIMMEL P’UMIM HUTRA LOY,,, ELAH NAASIS LOY K’HETTER

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