Volume 38 Number 72
                 Produced: Sun Mar  2 22:18:18 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kiddush Clubs (3)
         [Rise Goldstein, Ezriel Krumbein, Eitan Fiorino]
Kiddush clubs - chazarat hashatz
         [Joel Rich]
Kiddush Clubs and Breakfast
         [Mike Gerver]
Kiddush Clubs and Parents' Influence
         [David Yehuda Shabtai]
A SA Requirement for Kidush Clubs!
         [Gershon Dubin]


From: Rise Goldstein <rbgoldstein@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 06:49:48 -0800
Subject: Kiddush Clubs

Frederic Rosenblatt wrote:
> {...snip...}
> It used to be assumed when I was younger that exposure to moderate,
> responsible drinking was safer than complete lack of exposure.

As an epidemiologist and health services researcher specializing in
mental illness and addictive disorders, I've seen no evidence to refute
Mr.  Rosenblatt's assertion.  On the other hand, many of the most
powerful risk factors for addictive disorders to develop, given previous
*use* of a substance, are genetic; others have to do with one's prior
psychiatric history and social functioning.

It would be awfully tough to gather valid data specific to the "shomer
mitzvot world," however we choose to define it, about trends over time
in substance abuse and the relative importance of particular risk
factors in its development.  My own speculations, for what they're
worth, based on results obtained from "general population"-based
samples, are that the increasing visibility of alcohol and other drug
problems in "our world" have to do both with at least the following two

	(a) unrecognized and untreated mental/behavioral disorders,
including disruptive behavior disorders like attention
deficit/hyperactivity; and (b) decreased parental monitoring resulting
from increasingly large families, plus single-parent homes, plus two
working parents in two-parent homes.

The decreased parental monitoring allows youngsters to engage in
substance use at an early age.

Part of the lack of recognition and treatment of mental/behavioral
problems may reflect not knowing what to look for, not knowing how to
seek help, and inability to afford it financially.  However, it is IMHO
very likely that another part reflects the lack of desire to "stigmatize
the family," including for subsequent shidduchim, by seeking help, even
when it is needed.  I've personally been consulted in such cases by
"members of our fold" over the course of my career.  As for decreased
parental monitoring and its allowing early experimentation with
substances, the younger the initiation of use, the greater the
likelihood of problems, all other considerations equal.

The bottom line IMHO, and without sound, Orthodox community-specific
epidemiologic data on which to base my opinion, is that the "club
phenomena" being decried in this thread probably contributes at most a
small amount to the problem of substance abuse, though there are clearly
plenty of other reasons to try to do something about the clubs.

Rise Goldstein (<rbgoldstein@...>)
Los Angeles, CA

From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 12:50:44 -0800
Subject: Re: Kiddush Clubs

>I feel that if I come to shule on time to help make minyan for someone
>who is saying kadish and if you come 15 minutes late, not only do you
>disrupt my davening (greetings, etc.)  but also I am "subsidizing" you
>-- cause you now have a shorter davening -- after all you "catch up"
>and we both end at the same time.

Even thought the poster of this idea had the right point of view, I
think this statement is so wrong.  Davening is not something to be
gotten through.  Even though my Rosh Yeshiva once said there were times
that he wished he had davened.  Davening is an opportunity to talk to
Hashem.  To tell him how we feel, give appreciation for what we have and
to try to bring our relationship with Hashem that much closer. A person
coming late to davening (myself included) is not doing anything but
missing out on quality time with Hashem.

>2.  in talmudic times rabbis only gave derashot several times a year.
>the custom of a weekly derasha is late, an innovation of the reformers,
>and a clear copying of what went on in church.  Perhaps it is a good
>innovation, but clearly for the rabbi to also announce communal events,
>which are often then repeated by the shul president, is an unnecessary
>time sink.

My Rav once joked: There was a long standing dispute between the
Rabbanim and the congregation. In the old contracts for Rabbanim it
stated that he was required to give a drasha on Shabbos Teshuva and
Shabbos Hagodol. The Rabbanim thought that this was a minimum and the
congregation thought it was the maximum.  On the other hand, I once
heard a respected communal Rabbi say "there are times when I really
don't feel like giving a sermon. Then I realize this may be the only
time that some of the people in shul learn Torah this week".

Kol Tov

From: Eitan Fiorino <tony.fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 10:35:34 -0500
Subject: Kiddush Clubs

> From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
> Gershon suggests a drink of water or coffee before davening . . . .
> I AM GLAD THIS WAS BROUGHT UP. There is NO substitute for a descent
> breakfast (Even the Gmarrah (BK) states this). People who are irritated
> because they havent eaten may not be able to tolerate the Rabbis sermon.
> I really think this is a serious issue--people do have a right to eat a
> descent breakfast and shouldnt be accused of avoiding the Rabbis sermon.

I find absurd the claim that kiddush clubs exist so that their
participants can avoid engaging in a half-fast on shabbat.  I'd love to
see a survey of how many kiddush club participants are even aware that
this halachah exists!  Moreover, as has been suggested by others, the
issue can easily be avoided by having some water before shacharit (which
does not require one to make kiddush).  Russell replies above that a
glass of water is no substitute for a good breakfast (though he
apparently thinks a few shots of single malt scotch, plus cake and
herring does constitute a decent breakfast!!!).

Russell's appropriate solution is to daven hashkama. I'd add to this
that while we are generally enjoined from eating before shacharit, a
person may do so if he/she is unable to make it through davening without
eating (e.g., kavanah disrupted because of hunger). Both solutions
undermine the claim that kiddush clubs exist so that its participants
can do the "right thing" halachically with regard to manageing their
hunger and kavanah on shabbat morning.

I find it disingenuous (and halachically wrong) to claim that kiddush
clubs exist to allow participants to be machmir on both not eating prior
to shacharit and fasting on shabbat, since the participants flout more
important (IMHO) inyanim such as kavod harav and poresh min hatzibbur.
In my experience, however, kiddush club members do not justify their
behavior on such flimsy halachic grounds; rather, they are completely
forthright about their preference for kiddush over maftir and the
drasha.  Though I count myself among the firm opponents of kiddush
clubs, I am also an opponent of drawn-out davening and the
all-too-common bad, long drasha - so really, I find it hard to blame
them for their view.  Perhaps shuls with a kiddush club problem should
take the opportunity to look at how shabbat morning is structured and
figure out ways to improve it.



From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 08:24:32 -0500
Subject: Kiddush clubs - chazarat hashatz

2 respondents suggested 1-a heicha kedusha (not a full repetition of the
shmaona esrai) 2-stretching one's legs outside shul during chazarat

I am not a Rav nor do I play one on TV but I would like to point out
that the repetition of the shmoneh esrai and listening to it is not
"optional". According to RYD Soloveitchik ZT"L it is what the Rambam
referred to as Tfillat Hatzibbur(the prayer of the total congregation
which HKB"H will always answer). I am unaware of any poskim who view it
as optional(This is not a new problem-R' Avraham ben Harambam suggested
doing away with it because of the lack of respect paid by the

Similarly I don't understand the use of the shortened repetition except
in an area of great urgency - I'd appreciate sources for other use,
including the frequent appereance in some communities at a simcha - I
don't understand how we can have speeches about our great thankfulness
to HKB"H for the simcha but not spend the few extra minutes on a full
chazarat hashatz!

Joel Rich


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 16:04:11 EST
Subject: Kiddush Clubs and Breakfast

Russell Hendel, in v38n70, says
> I AM GLAD THIS WAS BROUGHT UP. There is NO substitute for a descent
>  breakfast (Even the Gmarrah (BK) states this). People who are irritated
>  because they havent eaten may not be able to tolerate the Rabbis sermon.
>  I really think this is a serious issue--people do have a right to eat a
>  descent breakfast and shouldnt be accused of avoiding the Rabbis sermon.

I agree. Lubavitch has the civilized minhag of eating a decent-sized
piece of cake in the morning before davening (on Shabbat or Yom Tov), as
long as it's not enough to be considered a full meal. I picked up this
minhag from Chabad House in my graduate student days in Berkeley, and
still observe it. Perhaps for that reason I was never tempted to join
the kiddush club, when I belonged for many years to a shul that had one.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: David Yehuda Shabtai <dys6@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 09:36:02 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Kiddush Clubs and Parents' Influence

A couple of notes about the Kiddush club thread:

There is absolutely no excuse for fasting on Shabbos.  For those who
brush their teeth, they can simply take a drink of water when they are
done - many people do so during the week as well.  For those who do not
brush their teeth - they can also take a drink of water when washing
their faces or whatever - pretending that people who go to kiddush clubs
are attmpting to prevent violating an issur de'rabbanan is not only far
fetched, but makes people think that the Halakha would allow for such

Many people questioned the clubbers' motives - if they were sincerely
attempting to fulfill the kiyum of not fasting, then it would be
understood and permissible to go to a kiddush club.  Even if it were the
case that people 'forgot' that they cannot fast on Shabbat and therefore
need to eat something, there is not excuse for a kiddush club - they can
simply walk to a waterfountain (I guess it depends what you think of
their permissibility on Shabbat) or to the bathroom and take a drink of
water.  The motive is not relevant at all.

Furthermore, the impact on children is quite large - perhaps more than
most adults realize - and this on two levels:

1.  Children see that their fathers cannot sit through the entire
davening without getting drunk - this is a very serious problem as
Shabbat is one of the only times for most people when the whole family
davens together.  It sets a terrible example - and this is real, it is
not some far fetched possibility - it goes the same for talking
excessively during davening.  Children see this in their parents and
they act similarly - they lose respect for the makom tefillah and more
importantly possibly, they don't understand what tefillah is.  Rav Ahron
Lichtenstein said that the Rav complained in his later years that the
younger generation doesn't feel the need to daven anymore; they do not
turn to tefillah in times of need (the Rav also included more
existential crisis of everyday life, but the same holds true for real

  I have to reiterate, these are real problems - children really see
this behavior in their fathers and act accordingly.  One will argue that
we can teach children in school about all of these things - like
tefillah and about the need for davening.  In my humble opinion,
teaching children is entirely ineffective if the parents set an opposite
example.  If we want our children to care about tefillah we have to show
them by example.  Walking out in the middle of davening is the WRONG
example to be setting.

2.  On a more societal note: children are also influenced by their
fathers' drinking habits at kiddush clubs - if it is OK to get drunk,
and the fathers' would argue - not really drunk, just a little tipsy -
during davening(!!!!!) - it is definitely OK to do so, and perhaps get
even more drunk (ignoring the rule of dayo...) at other times.  Again,
this is a realy problem, not my imagination - I have seen this, heard
this and continue to see it all the time.  I am not a doctor or a
psychologist, these are my friends and my siblings' friends.  Some have
argued that alcohol in moderation is best as it teaches children to
avoid excess .....  whatever - it is entirely irrelevant to the
discussion.  Going out in the middle of davening to drink, or even for
that matter at the end of davening, for the purpose of drinking - is NOT
moderation.  Moderation is drinking kiddush, even having good wine for
kiddush, enjoying that wine during the meal and maybe a shot or two
during or after - not a separate event for the purpose of drinking
(often there is also some food, but who are we really kidding?).

I will get off my soap box now, but these are real problems - I don't
think people realize how much children pick up by example, not only from
their parents but also from their parents' friends (!).

David Shabtai


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Feb 2003 23:30:50 -0500
Subject: Re: A SA Requirement for Kidush Clubs!

On Sun, 23 Feb 2003 13:33:36 -0500 Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
writes: <<I AM GLAD THIS WAS BROUGHT UP. There is NO substitute for a
descent breakfast (Even the Gmarrah (BK) states this). People who are
irritated because they havent eaten may not be able to tolerate the
Rabbis sermon.  I really think this is a serious issue--people do have a
right to eat a descent breakfast and shouldnt be accused of avoiding the
Rabbis sermon.>>

I think that by the time people reach legal drinking age they should
have sufficient self control to stay in shul, boring sermon or not,
until davening is over.

Leaving in the middle to have a drink, thereby showing blatant
disrespect both to God and to the rabbi, is not adult behavior and
should not be condoned, by anyone, under any circumstances.

How do these people behave at ne'ilah when they haven't eaten in 24
hours and are supposed to be on their best behavior for the whole year?

The assertion that their rumbling stomachs excuses such immature
behavior is beyond credibility.



End of Volume 38 Issue 72