Volume 54 Number 13
                    Produced: Wed Feb 21  5:34:25 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Length of davening time in Shul
         [Martin Stern]
Talking in Shul (6)
         [Ari Trachtenberg, Frank Silbermann, Akiva Miller, Joel Rich,
Harry Weiss, Orrin Tilevitz]
Talking in shul - as a social outlet
         [Carl Singer]
Ten Commandments
         [Mark Symons]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 16:45:53 +0000
Subject: Length of davening time in Shul

On Wed, 14 Feb 2007 12:51:20 +0200, Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
> Many, many years ago, I davened in a Shul across from the main station
> in Jerusalem on a Shabbos morning. The full davening, with no omissions
> except for lengthy Misheberachs after the Aliyot, took an hour and ten
> minutes - and it was not a particularly short Sidrah and did not feel
> overly rushed.
> In general, the Minyan I daven at in Ramot, Jerusalem, takes between 90
> to 105 minutes, and is no way rushed. No, there is no speech, and no, we
> do not have world-famous Chazanim, and no, we do not have interminable
> Misheberachs. 

I think that there is a slight difference between the custom in Israel
and elsewhere in that the public davenning starts at nishmat, or
yishtabach on weekdays, and not with birkhot hashachar and pesukei
dezimra. This must cut the time by at least 20 minutes. So a comparable
time for Shabbat in chuts la'arets would be two hours give or take five
minutes, which sounds very reasonable to me.

Martin Stern


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2007 10:10:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Talking in Shul

> From: Michael Perl <michael_perl9@...>
> ...Could another reason we have talking issues be due to our current
> nusach just having too many prayers and davening taking too long?

Putting this together with a recent post on addiction begs the question
(in my mind) ... does Judaism foster an addiction to davening?  Is our
selfish need for davening (certainly G-d doesn't *need* our prayers!)
taking over our lives?

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 11:00:32 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Talking in Shul

>> The second (purpose of a Shul) is a gathering place on shabbat,
>> where the Jews who all week worked with the goyim, had a place
>> to gather as yidden, with other yidden.  They could daven, learn,
>> catch-up with each other in a setting that was not "goyish" or with goyim>>

Ira Bauman (<Yisyis@...>) V54 N11
>	Although I live in a vibrant modern orthodox community,
>	during the week people come in late to daven and run out early.
>	There is very little opportunity to meet and one can go
>	a whole week until shabbos without conversing with another Jew.
>	It is no wonder that on Shabbos when I finally see my friends
>	and neighbor for 3 hours, I bristle at the thought of a zero
>	tolerance for talking.

At the Chabad shul I attended when I lived in New Orleans, the rabbi
worked very hard to increase the decorum and reduce the chatter.

Once he had the situation under control, to keep the decorum from going
too far he told the story of a rabbi in Russia who had railed against
talking in shul with complete success, only to reverse his policy and
tell his congregants nevermind.  When a student asked the rabbi to
explain why, the rabbi said, "When people talked, they learned what was
going on in each other's lives.  They found out which Jew needed a
helping hand, and which Jew could provide it.  When they stopped talking
in shul, they stopped helping one another."

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee	<fs@...>

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 13:34:32 GMT
Subject: Re: Talking in Shul

It seems to me that Dr. Hendel's posts can be easiliy misunderstood.  At
first, it seemed to me that he was in favor of general conversation in
shul, as part of the shul's function as a community center. In his more
recent posts, it seems to me that he does not sanction general
conversation, but only questions and answers related to Torah in general
or the parsha in particular, and it is for that reason that he is
strongly against a zero-tolerance policy.

If that understanding is correct, then I say that I feel the same
way. Occasional remarks ought to be allowed, depending on the part of
the service, the subject matter, the loudness, and the urgency -- all of
which are very subjective and hard to define.

The problem is that there are some people - in my shul at least - who
seem unable or unwilling to understand these distinctions. They carry on
loud conversations about non-Torah topics during important parts of the
service directly next to people who are trying to pray. If there are no
such people at Dr. Hendel's shul, then it is easy to understand why he
is so strongly anti-zero-tolerance. But because there are so many such
people at my shul (or, more accurately, what WAS my Shabbos morning shul
until I gave up a month ago) I prefer to take a close-to-zero-tolerance

(And I suspect that most people who seem to be zero-tolerance are
actually like me, that they would easily tolerate a small amount of
talking if the talkers would be better about restaining themselves to
whispering, and only when important.)

Akiva Miller

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 08:45:22 -0500
Subject: Talking in Shul

> Good point. We should elaborate on what we mean. In any discussion, it
> is always good to define our terms.
> "If all shmoozing is assur, why not just say so?" -- Um, the seforim
> *did* say so. In many places. For example, Mishneh Brurah 151:2 - "Even
> ordinary talk, such as for business purposes, which is allowed outside,
> is forbidden in shul." Perhaps I misunderstood your question?
> Akiva Miller

As one who would prefer a zero tolerance policy, I still need to be
intellectually honest. I think your quote is a din in hilchot bet
haknesset, not in hilchot tfilla (I'm at work) and this is one of those
cases which iirc R' MF said something like even though the S"A said X
(no tnai will allow for non kodesh use of beit knesset) klal Yisrael
(sounds like catholic Israel :-)) has paskened like the other opinions!
Don't ask me on what basis.

IMVHO we'll never convince the masses on this issue with halachik
arguments and I wish I knew how to communicate how thankful we should be
that HKB"H allows us to pray to him and how valuable each second of that
close relationship is (a' la R'YBS that prayer requires a mattir)

Joel Rich

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 08:55:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Talking in Shul

> I can understand the feelings of those "yidden".  As a professional
> working in a non-Jewish town, with non-Jews all day, I too crave some
> time to communicate with my co-religionists.  Although I live in a
> vibrant modern orthodox community, during the week people come in late
> to daven and run out early.  There is very little opportunity to meet
> and one can go a whole week until shabbos without conversing with
> another Jew.  It is no wonder that on Shabbos when I finally see my
> friends and neighbor for 3 hours, I bristle at the thought of a zero
> tolerance for talking.  Most of the Rabbis who advocate this position
> have jobs in the Yeshiva system.  They talk to colleagues, parents and
> congregants all day and just don't seem to understand what the regular
> baal habos like me has to complain about.  Don't get me wrong.  I would
> hate to see our time of tefillah degenerate into something it should not
> be, but zero tolerance is a bit extreme
> Ira Bauman

I also live in a very non Jewish commmunity and am in the same situation
as is most of our Kehilla.

After Mussaf is over we have a Kiddush.  If there is no sponsor there
may not be a lot of food, but there is pleny of time to shmooze with the
other Jews.  AFAIK no one prohibits talking during the kiddush (not the
bracha, the eating portion).

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 10:53:03 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Talking in Shul

I knew I could count on Russell to raise the level of discussion by
citing sources.  Alas, the sources he cites do not come close to proving
your point.

I do not have the Mishna Berura in front of me, but I believe you are
confusing "talking" with "conversing".  The sources you cite permit
"talking", in the sense of uttering words, in limited cases between
aliyot; but I do not recall that they use the word "sicha", meaning
conversation.  One example of talking in the absence of conversation
include a gabbai asking a potential oleh's name.  Another, brought in
the sources you quote, is the obligation of "shnayim mikrah ve-echad
targum", i.e., someone recites the parsha twice plus once in Aramaic. It
is possible that one may do that aloud between aliyot.  The sources you
quote do not, as you do, take the leap that since one may do this, one
may converse about it, or anything else, with someone else.

In fact, the authoritative treatise on the halachot of layning, Shaarei
Ephraim, makes this distinction, stating as follows (Shaar 4:11):
"Immediately when they begin to read it is forbidden to talk and to
converse any conversation; even between aliyot it is forbidden to
converse, and it is proper to be stringent not to converse from the time
the Torah is opened, even though the reading has not started.  Even if
he has already read twice + Aramaic it is forbidden to converse.  Even
to respond to teach a halacha of immediate importance to a questioner is
forbidden during the actual layning, but is permitted between aliyot;
but to prevent somebody from doing something forbidden [talking?] it is
permitted to say something abbreviated even during the reading if it
cannot be done with gestures.  4:12 then continues: "Even to speak
(lesaper] words of Torah during the reading is forbidden, even if he has
already read twice + the Aramaic; but one whose soul is desirous of
Torah and wants to review his learning it is permissible for him to be
lenient . . . but he should turn his face before the Torah is open and
read (ligros) silently; but between aliyot one may read the sedra twice
+ Aramaic and learn Rashi's commentary," clearly implying that at this
time one may read these things aloud TO ONESELF.  The commentary on
Shaarei Ephraim, Shaarei Chaim, is even more stringent, saying that
today, so that "amei haaretz" will not learn to treat the layning
lightly, one may learn only silently and only between aliyot, and as far
as mi sheberachs go, he says "it is better to look in a sefer [not
"discuss Torah"] than, chas vershalom, speak devarim beteilim".

> The MB 146:2 Note 6 states the reason for prohibiting talking between
> aliyoth is "A preventative enactment lest people start talking between
> aliyoth and continue talking during the leining."  But wait a minute.
> Leining itself is Rabbinic. We have a clear rule That there are no
> enactments to enactments. In other words if there is rabbinic
> prohibition of talking during leining (So that you should concentrate
> and learn) then we can not have a second enactment prohibiting talking
> between aliyoth because it might lead to talking during leining which
> is only rabbinically prohibited.

That argument proves too much.  As Russell points out, layning is
rabbinic, so any decree to strengthen it, including prohibiting talking
during layning, is a decree on top of a decree and so is invalid.
Therefore, according to Russell's logic, one may talk during layning,
not only between aliyot.  The gemara's typical answer to such reasoning
is "chada gezeira" - it's all one decree, even if there are separate
reasons for different parts.  So basically, the decree to layn came with
the prohibition of talking during the reading an between the aliyot.
Russell also argues that since the reason for prohibiting talking
between aliyot is "lest the conversation stretch into the next aliya",
short conversations that won't stretch into the next aliya because of
all the mi sheberachs are permitted.  In so arguing Russell ignores the
concept of "lo plug"; once the rabbis made a decree, the decree applies
across the board even if it might not serve a function in a particular
case.  To summarize briefly: unless you are responding to someone's
halachic question of immediate importance (or need to give your name to
the gabbai), the only talking you are allowed between aliyot is to
yourself, and maybe not even that.

> In fact in one shule where I lein they do NOT recite Mi Shebayrachs
> for sick people during leining---rather after the maftir the Rabbi
> gets up and makes a Mi Shebayrach and asks people with sick friends
> "to have in mind the names of these friends." I believe that this
> shule is doing things properly.

This topic has been discussed repeatedly on this list.  Your shul's
timing may be fine but the way they do it is a made-up minhag.  I can't
cite you a specific source, but the entire reason behind the
mishebeirach for the sick is to announce their names in public so that
other people will pray for them, akin to the gemara's explanation of why
we say "tamei, tamei" behind a metzora.  Otherwise, the mishebeirach
becomes a private prayer which, as we know isn't made on Shabbat.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 07:59:13 -0500
Subject: Talking in shul - as a social outlet

This is directed as more to me than to Ira, I'm not trying to rebut your
feelings.  But maybe we all need to find other times and venues (besides
Shabbos morning davening) to socialize with other Jews.  I'm not
recommending waiting in line Thursday night at the bakery or bowling
tournaments, but just not Shabbos morning in shul during davening.



From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 2007 00:32:07 +1100
Subject: Ten Commandments

I don't know if this has been mentioned in MJ before but a novel 
suggestion as to how the 10 commandments  were arranged on the 2 tablets 
appears in a fascinating article at

The author suggests that commandments 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 were on one of
the Luchot, while 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 were on the other. The 2 halves of
each pair - ie 1 and 2, 3 and 4 etc are complementary, and they are
meant to be read in that order ie 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. He suggests that the
phrase "k'tuvim mish'nei evreihem mizeh umizeh hem k'tuvim" which he
translates as "The tablets were written across from each other; (first)
on one and (then) on the other were they written" (Exodus 32.15) could
indicate this. (He has a thesis that there are several sections of the
Torah eg the Creation chapter that may be more meaningful when read like

Mark Symons


End of Volume 54 Issue 13