Volume 40 Number 88
                 Produced: Thu Oct 16  5:50:40 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Children in Shul (5)
         [Sholom Parnes, Neal B. Jannol, Akiva G Miller, Carl Singer,
Martin D Stern]
Kissing Children in Shul (6)
         [Akiva G Miller, Elozor Reich, Yisrael Medad, Alan Cooper, Joel
Rich, Ari Kahn]


From: Sholom Parnes <merbe@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 14:12:57 +0200
Subject: Children in Shul

The gemara in Chagiga page 3A , in discussing the mitzva of Hakhel,
discusses the reasons for men, women and children attending the Hakhel
ceremony. The reason given for children is " k'dei l'tain sachar
l'm'viaihen", to accrue merit for those who bring them.

Tosofot (the last one on the page) states that it is upon this that we
rely when bringing the young'ns (k'tanim) to shul.

Obviously each child is different and the amount of time each child
should spend in shul varies from kid to kid.

Thirty some odd years ago, whenever the issue of children in shul was
raised at a shul meeting, my uncle would suggest facetiously that the
shul should hire someone with a machine gun and that all the kids who
made noise in shul should be lined up outside the building and shot.
Unfortunately, even then, there were those that didn't realize he was
pulling their collective leg and tried to convince him that he was over
reacting. Incidentally, all of that uncle's children and grandchildren
are regular shul goers today.(Those of you who know me can probably
guess which of my uncles I refer to).

Moadim l'simcha.


From: <NJannol@...> (Neal B. Jannol)
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003 09:59:24 -0700
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

My rabbi gave a speech a while ago about shalom bayis being nearly above
all mitzvos and for that reason people were allowed to pay for maids,
babysitters in order to ensure harmony in the home, and that such
expenses were on a par with tzedaka.  Fortunately, our expenditures for
such things are enough for shalom bayis, but I find that giving my wife
some time alone at least with only one child if not totally alone is
important too.  I take my son to kabbolas shabbos so she can spend time
with my daughter.  I take my daughter in the morning on shabbos
likewise.  I try to keep my children in line and miss much of the
davening so as not to interfere with other's davening.  Having said
that, I would disagree with any lay opinion that children should not be
allowed in shul - of course a screaming baby should be taken out - but
there are legitimate reasons for giving one's spouse some time off on a
shabbos and taking your children to shul.

Neal B. Jannol
Loeb & Loeb LLP, 10100 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 2200
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone - (310) 282-2358, Fax - (310) 282-2200

From: Akiva G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Oct 2003 20:20:38 -0400
Subject: re: Children in Shul

Robert Tolchin wrote about <<< two corresponding types of shul. There's
the perspective that kids don't belong in shul until they can daven and
keep quiet, and there's the perspective that kids should come because
Jews belong in shul and if they make some noise the grownups will just
have to be grownups and deal with it like adults, just as they deal with
every other distraction in life. >>>

My community fits neither of those characterizatins. We welcome kids who
act appropriately, and we are intolerant of adults who act

He continued: <<< Kids don't just wake up one morning all mature and
behaving like grownups. They mature over time based on their inherent
desire to emulate grownup behavior. For example, kids don't suddenly
learn to drink from a cup. They spill their milk hundreds of times
trying before they get it.  Yet we keep giving them a cup to teach them,
knowing full well that they probably will spill. >>>

This is very true. But realize that until they have mastered the skill,
we keep the challenge commensurate uith their ability. The cup will have
a cover, or contain only a small amount of drink. No one would offer
such a child a top-heavy goblet.

For the chinuch to be effective, you can't demand too much in shul
either. Have the chid inside for selected parts of the davening, and
then allow/insist that he be elsewhere for a while. Everything in accord
with what he can handle.

And: <<< Full training will NEVER happen unless we continually thrust
them into a situation where they are expected to behave properly,
knowing that they won't be able to do it, but hoping that they'll get a
bit better each time. >>>

Yes, but be careful. Unreasonable demands will backfire. "Behave
properly" should mean "better than last time". If you insist on
perfection the kid might give up entirely.

And: <<< Consider the case of my older daughter... she and her friends
still make a fair amount of noise and they do run around. Yes, that's a
bit disturbing. BUT, at the age of 2 she knew the words for Yedid Nefesh
... she knows lecha dodi; ... she knows when it is about to be time to
say Shma and comes to sit on my lap and say Shma with me. AND, she is
already teaching what she knows to her little sister... Even though she
does make noise and she doesn't behave as an adult in shul, she is
absolutely learning: a) that Jews belong in shul; b) what Jews do in
shul; and c) how Jews behave in shul. >>>

These are truly beautiful and wonderful things, and I believe you are
right to be proud of her. I just hope that item "C" of that last
sentence includes knowing when and how to avoid bothering other
people. Nothing in your post suggests that she has any role models for
this. There is a time for exuberance, and a time for restraint; make
sure she gets the whole picture.

Akiva Miller

From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 07:09:53 -0400
Subject: Children in Shul

I'm struck by the extremes in the various arguments / discussions.  Lots
of pseudo-victimization (?) i.e., then X can't ever go to shule, ever
etc.  Most social organizations learn to work out compromises.  In the
case of shule, limits to acceptable behavior, responsibilities of
parents and alternate activities (junior minyans, play groups, etc.)

As parents we have the right / responsibility to raise our children as
we see fit -- within certain boudnaries -- What still strikes me is the
various levels of parent behavior re: their children as manifest in
shule: I've seen parents and children who are (1) "joined at the hip" --
child is always with parent and parent sees to child's having a learning
experience and child's not disturbing others, (2) "Invisible" -- child
is near parent but parent seems to ignore child's antics and (3)
"orphans" -- children who wander shule around without any parental

To rephrase an old rejoinder -- would you tolerate this same behavior in 
theatre or an elegant restaurant?

Carl Singer
See my new home page www.mo-b.net/cas
Please use this new email address for correspondence -- not my AOL address

From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 07:45:59 EDT
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

The problem with most correspondents is that they seem mainly to want to
bring their children on Shabbat and Yom Tov morning when the davenning
is far too long for most children to sit through quietly. May I suggest
that the correct form of chinuch is to bring a child first to Minchah on
Shabbat which only lasts about 20 minutes which should not be too much
if they are relatively well-behaved (they can always be taken out before
Pikei Avot / Barechi Nafshi). It has the advantage of a short Kriat
Hatorah and Chazarat Hashats when the parent can show by example how to
keep quiet as is halachically mandated. Also the smaller numbers
attending usually mean that only those who take davenning really
seriously will be there and those who only come to socialise will not be
present to set a bad example. Once the child has mastered this, the next
stage would be to bring them on Friday night which lasts about two or
three times as long but where there is plenty of singing, also in may
shuls a chance for the kids to have a sip of kiddush wine. Only once
they have managed to show that they can behave for that long can they be
brought on Shabbat morning let alone Yom Tov or the Yamim Noraim (except
for a very short time at the end or while their mothers come to hear the
shofar - 15 minutes at most). In all cases one should only bring one
'trainee' child at a time as they will otherwise disturb each other. For
those with twin boys this is a particularly difficult problem, as I know
from personal experience, so some allowance has to be made for such
exceptional circumstances (perhaps a friend can help look after one of

    Martin D Stern


From: Akiva G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 09:05:18 -0400
Subject: re: Kissing Children in Shul

Leah S. Gordon asked <<< Would those who are hard-hearted enough to say
that a mommy shouldn't kiss her baby in shul -- kindly provide a
halakhic source for that statement? >>>

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 98:1, in the Rama: "It is forbidden for a
person to kiss his little children in shul, to set in their hearts that
there is no love like the love for G-d."

She also asked <<< we all know that it is forbidden to daven around the
smell of feces. ... (I wonder, actually, if babies are really included
in that prohibition, at least fully breast-fed ones.  Their feces is not
particularly offensive, or even recognizable as human waste at first
smell.)  No one would disagree that toddlers need quick attention to
diaper matters. >>>

This is correct. See Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 81:1 for the details of
when a baby becomes old enough for his waste to be halachically

Akiva Miller

From: Elozor Reich <countrywide@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 11:27:02 +0100
Subject: Kissing Children in Shul

Leah Gordon posted:
> 1. Would those who are hard-hearted enough to say that a mommy
> shouldn't kiss her baby in shul--kindly provide a halakhic source for
> that statement?

> 2. Anyone who thinks that babies/children are too smelly/unhygienic to
> be in shul clearly has never inhaled at the end of a fast day or 'three-day'
> chag. (I wonder, actually, if babies are really included in
> that prohibition, at least fully breast-fed ones.  Their feces is not
> particularly offensive, or even recognizable as human waste at first
> smell.) 

(1) In Sefer Chassidim (255), quoted in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 98:1 Rema,
it says that fathers should not kiss their children in shul. The reasons
given would seem to apply equally to mothers.

(2) In Shulchan Aruch O.C. 81:1 it says that babies' faeces do not
inhibit Krias Shema (etc) until they are of an age to eat
cereals. Nevertheless, the Magen Avraham states, it is better avoided
from seven days on.

The seven day dispensation gets round the problem of hachonos commonly
made by some infants immediately before entrance to the Covenant of


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 23:02:22 +0200
Subject: Kissing Children in Shul

Check Hilchot T'fila, Par. 98 in the Mishna Brura and you'll find in the
notes of R. Moshe Isrelish the above statement and bases himself on the
Magen Avraham (which I haven't seen) and explains it that in synagogue
you have in your heart only room for the love of G-d and no one else,
including your children.  I guess he considered the synagogue a place of
prayer and worship and not a community center.

>Give me a little baby poop any time over that awful stench of
>body odor and halitosis

For my part, you can have it.  It's just that your not supposed to force
it on other people.  Smell is not the only definitive characteristic of
body excretions and not only feces.  For example, Par. 81 conditions
problematic excretions on the type of food the baby eats (cereals
produce foul-smelling material) and actually, distance is a more central
factor even if it doesn't smell. Par. 82, 1, dealing with dried feces
conditions its potency on smell.

Yisrael Medad

From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 08:38:53 -0400
Subject: Re: Kissing Children in Shul

Shulchan Arukh, OH 98.1, Rama: "Kissing one's small children in the
synagogue is forbidden, in order to fix in the heart that there is no
love like the love of the Omnipresent."

See my article, "Parental Responsibility for the Jewish Upbringing of
Small Children: Some Traditional Sources," CCAR Journal, Spring/Summer
1996, pp.  19-30.

Alan Cooper 

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 09:08:02 EDT
Subject: Re: Kissing Children in Shul

See Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim 98:1 - The Rama says "assur Ladam lnashek
banav haktanim bbet haknesset kdei lkboa blibo shein ahavah kahavat
hamakom" Rough translation - one shouldn't kiss ones children in shul in
order to reinforce that there is no love comprable to the love of God.

Moadim Lsimcha
Joel Rich

From: Ari Kahn <kahnar@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 12:57:55 +0200
Subject: Kissing Children in Shul

Rama Shulchan Oruch OH 98:1, the reason brought is that one should focus
all of their love toward God in a shul. Presumably this applies to a
father or a mother equally.

See the comments of the Magen Avraham who cites Shla not to bring small
children at all. See Mishna Brura 3 who concurs and qualifies this to
apply to all children who are not yet at the age of chinuch, defined as
possessing the ability to sit in a decorous fashion

Ari Kahn


End of Volume 40 Issue 88