Volume 40 Number 97
                 Produced: Tue Oct 28  5:19:23 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adults in Shul
         [Martin D Stern]
Children and Adults in Shul
         [Batya Medad]
Children in Shul (7)
         [Josh Zaback, Shoshana L. Boublil, Carl Singer, Michael Kahn,
Batya Medad, Russell J Hendel, Rachel Swirsky]
Kissing Children in Shul (2)
         [Martin D Stern, Harry Weiss]
Simchas Torah Reflections


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 09:16:57 EST
Subject: Re: Adults in Shul

In a message dated 26/10/03, Michael Rogovin wrote:
<< Now, if we could only get the adults to behave... >>

    Doesn't this answer all the complaints about children not behaving
in shul: they are only copying their elders, who probably were
themselves allowed to run wild when they were kids. It is all a vicious

    Martin D Stern


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 07:54:35 +0200
Subject: Children and Adults in Shul

Another result of kids not learning how to sit and doven quietly for the
entire tfila is the "Kiddush Club," which was well discussed not long
ago.  It's the adult version of "running in the hallway."



From: Josh Zaback <heshyzaback2@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 17:32:55 -0500
Subject: Children in Shul

While bringing children to shul is certainly essential to being
Mechanech them properly in how to daven and act properly in shul, the
problem of disruptive children in shul is certainly one that cannot be
overlooked. If a child comes to shul with his father, and his father
davens while the child runs around unsupervised, where's the chinuch in

We asked my Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Henach Lebowitz, when is the appropriate
age to bring a child to shul in order to be mechanech them in the proper
way to daven. He told us that for sure if the child will be disruptive
to others, it's better not to bring him, no matter the age. He said that
a child should be brought to shul when he is capable of sitting through
the davening in his chair, whether davening or following along or just
reading from a book. If he is not at the age where he is capable of
this, he should not be brought to shul. (Or brought to shul later, with
the mother, so he only has to sit for a little time and can eventually
stay for longer.)

Finally, while it may be true that most children come to shul and daven
nicely, the fact is that there are some children who make a ruckus in
shul, run around unsupervised, and destroy the shul's and other people's
property.  This minority is not a reflection on all children from every
family in every shul! It is, however sadly, a too common problem that
has to be addressed primarily by the child's parents.

Heshy Zaback

From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 11:12:19 +0200
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

> From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
> Namely, I am either sitting in my seat or standing there, and an
> incredibly cute little toddler climbs up onto the seat in front of me,
> and starts smiling at me. Yes, he is cute, and I would love to take him
> in my lap and start playing with him, but this is not the time for that.
> I'm trying to talk to G-d!
[del for bw]

> PLEEEEZE! Why should I have to put up with this?

There is another solution.  The above situation can be categorized as
"sur Mei'Ra".  But is there a possible "Aseh Tov" in this story?  I
believe that there is:

You're attention has already wondered from your prayers.  So, why not
take a moment and pay attention to the toddler, but place your finger
over your mouth to signal "silence" (most toddlers already know this
sign.  Then invite him (with your finger) to come and look at the
letters in the Siddur with you.  Show him, by signing, that you are

The results, in my experience, are that you shorten the amount of time
that your attention wanders from prayer, the child received some
constructive attention, and usually the child will go elsewhere to look
for attention (unless the child is completely unruly, which is a
different problem).

Oh -- and do it with a smile <g>.

If you see the child after prayers, you can then spend a moment with
him/her so that they see that while earlier you wouldn't play, now you
will.  Again, constructive behavior.

Shoshana L. Boublil

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 08:01:03 -0500
Subject: Children in Shul

I see two terms that are not interchangeable: (1) People with children
and (2) Parents.  There are PEOPLE in shule whose children also happen
to be in shule -- some act as (responsible) parents.

Also, the ideal shule would be spacious, have appropriate playrooms,
accessible exits, etc. -- but I've davened for years in a gym and most
recently in a converted old printshop -- it's people that make the
shule, not the bricks & boards.

BUT -- when planning, building a new shule I strongly urge / suggest
that those doing the planning include both women with young children and
older people on the planning committees.

Carl Singer

From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 16:33:43 -0500
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

We have been discussing children misbehaving in shulle and restaurants.
But I think the issue is also one of children misbehaving in general. My
mom tells me that she can't believe the way the next generation is
letting their kids act wild and I'm amazed at some of the things I see
in my married friends homes. On a positive note, the yeshiva in which I
teach just got a new secular studies principal who is very strict and is
really changing the away the kids behave in the afternoon. Just the other
day, when I stopped a kid from talking during class he moaned, "you are
sooooo strict." I wanted to say, "You couldn't have given me a bigger
We really need to seriously reconsider how we are raising our kids.

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 18:37:10 +0200
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

      difference is parental expectations.  If you expect your child to
      treat the shul like a playground, they will.  If you expect them
      to daven, they will.

Not "expect," the word is "demand."  or "train," "educate," etc.  The
difference between "expect" and the other terms is that while we can
expect all (normal) babies to eventually to crawl, sit and walk, even
the blind or deaf, behaving isn't always so natural.  Therefore children
must be trained, educated to doven properly in shul.  A child who is
allowed to play, talk, run around, etc in shul will learn to keep doing
it even as adults.  Some big shuls have "gabaim" who walk around
greeting people, helping find seats, etc, nice job, but halachikly
problematic in terms of dovening.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 23:23:44 -0500
Subject: Children in Shul

Just a small note on the child-in-shule issue.

A few years ago we had a discussion on people with Alzheimers who would
make noises in shule. I suggested that by having such people there we
help our prayers (Since we become aware of our helplessness and we pray
that we shouldnt become like them)

The point?

The point is that shule is not a concernt or lecture or shiur. Shule is
about coming to God with our needs. So if you really really want to pray
with proper intention for paranassah (earning a living) then what better
way then to have the little rascals running all over the place and you
pray to have the strength to provide for them.

But you say, they distract! No! They place your mind on your needs.

Let me close with a chilling agaddah from the Rav, Rabbi Joseph Baer
Soloveitchick. I learned Agaddah with the Rav for a year. We once came
across the Agaddah that people who leave shule early will not have their
prayers answered.

Why?, said the Rav. What is the connection between the crime and the
punishment. The Rav answered by pointing out that it is dark at night
and people should walk home in groups (to minimize dangers). The person
who left shule early obviously did not care that much about the safety
of his fellow man. But, said the Rav, the last petition in the daily
prayer is for peace. So this person prayed for peace but then left early
and endangered his fellow mans life. Hence his prayers are not answered.

I think comparing people who leave shule early to people who cant stand
the noise of little children is appropriate.  Again: the main point is
that shule is not about decor but rather about man presenting his needs
to God...it is therefore best when those needs are there in the flesh.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com/

From: <swirskyr@...> (Rachel Swirsky)
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 11:17:15 -0500
Subject: RE: Children in Shul

>From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
>Your answer is "NO", you would not tolerate such behavior in other
>venues - why tolerate this in shule?

Because people have an obligation to be there.  Do not get me wrong, I
do not think children should be allowed to run free in shul... they need
to be monitored and looked after by their parents, however I do think
there needs to be more leeway as their parents (or at least father's)
are obligated to be there.  It is more akin to a polling station or
entist appointment than the theatre... we have no obligation to go to
the theatre.



From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 09:16:59 EST
Subject: Re: Kissing Children in Shul

In a message dated 26/10/03, Michael Rogovin wrote:

<< While I know that many poskim hold that kissing children in shul is 
inappropriate, I think that the idea that a child would understand the rationale 
(that love of God is so intense in shul that love of child is not on the radar 
scope) is wishful thinking. More likely, the child will get a message that she 
is not loved. Not a message I ever intend to convey to my children, under any 
circumstance. >>

    Perhaps the objection to kissing children in shul is where it is
purely as a sign of love and affection. Might there be a possible
leniency where a child has hurt itself and the kiss is then intended
more for reassurance and support? Another factor which might support
such a leniency is that it might stop the child crying and, thereby,
disturbing other people who are trying to concentrate on their
davenning. If this hypothesis can be upheld halachically (one would have
to consult one's rav for a practical ruling) then Michael Rogovin's
reservations would seem to be unfounded.

    Martin D Stern

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2003 10:47:16 -0800
Subject: Kissing Children in Shul

>From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
>Much has already been said (including a contribution by my wife) so I
>will limit myself to a few observations.
>(1) While I know that many poskim hold that kissing children in shul is

An interesting side not to this is the minhag I see followed by some
Sephardim (primarily Iranians) when someone gets an Aliyah to the Torah
they keep the tzitz they kissed the Torah in their hand after the Aliyah
and go to their family members and touch them with the Tzitz and give
them a kiss.


From: <Smwise3@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 07:15:19 EDT
Subject: Re: Simchas Torah Reflections

I know Simchas Torah is supposed to be a joyous celebration, but each
year, no matter where I go--sometimes far away from my Brooklyn
community--I find myself bothered by the same two issues: ultralong
hakafos and what is in it for women.

Hakafos seems more an event for the young, namely young yeshivish men
and younger.  They obviously are caught up in the spirit of the
occasion, but why must they go on for a half hour or more?  The dancing
consists of little more than being crushed as you walk around in a
circle, and the "older" men sit it out, learn or talk with others during
the bulk of the time spent.  While I realize the young yeshiva boys
bring spirit, they also show little consideration or respect for the
people around them.  When the gabbai wants to continue, they drown him
out and get their way for another several minutes--or longer.  When the
end finally comes, they resist putting away the Torah.  It seems to me
that even in this playfulness, they display disrespect and disregard
for others--antithetical to the teachings of the very Torah they dance
with.  Coupled with the drinking, and in some places, the pranks,
Simchas Torah starts resembling Purim.  Quite honestly, when they get so
caught up in the singing and dancing--a natural release after the
intensity of the holiday season--do they still realize why they are
doing it?

Then comes the women who are relegated to siting and watching.  Many of
them have sacrificed so their husbands can sit in learn in Kollel or
attend shiurim, or even learn at home.  For their sacrifice, they get to
watch the crush of men "dancing" for endless hours.  Why is their not a
separate celebration for them? Don't our daughters devote time to study
and living the Torah?  Perhaps more modern shuls do have dancing for
them, but what about the more right-wing contingency?

I would like to hear comments from others.  Maybe I am missing
something, but Simchas Torah, even when I enter it with my best
attitude, always leaves me a little disappointed and bewildered.



End of Volume 40 Issue 97