Volume 54 Number 16
                    Produced: Thu Feb 22  5:23:09 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Davening Time
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Length of Daveing time/Uninspired (2)
         [Frank Reiss, Avi Feldblum]
More about shul / "slowing down"
         [Stu Pilichowski]
Talking in Shul (8)
         [Shmuel Himelstein, Irwin E. Weiss, Esquire, Avi Feldblum, Leah
Aharoni, Orrin Tilevitz, Carl Singer, Edward Black, Elazar M.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 12:46:45 +0200
Subject: Davening Time

> 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

Nope - sorry to disagree. We start at R' Yishmael Omer. Granted, we do
not start with Berachot or Korbanot, which would at most add 8-10
minutes. Our davening is still between one and a half to one and
three-quarter hours.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Frank Reiss <freiss47@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 11:38:25 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Length of Daveing time/Uninspired

Hi. I am glad this issue is being tackled here. I find that I cannot
bear being in Shule anymore. This has been going on for some time. I am
open to suggestions.

I find the combination of the talkers, the long pauses, the time spent
doing this or that, the Rabbi's speeches, really make me crazy..  So
now, I get there very late, during Torah reading. After the HafTorah I
go out until the speech, after Shmoneh Esreh, out again till near the

It is not a matter of my needing someone to 'do it' for me. I don't need
the Chazan. If I could daven by myself, probably I would say everything.

It's the time it takes to get from here to there.

Perhaps it is a low self esteem issue or something.

I am not a big talker in Shule but between Aliyahs and such I will
converse with the person next to me, altho to a point, as he dafka does
not want to talk in Shule. The talkers bother me, but I could live with
that. In the past, it bothered me much more.  


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007
Subject: Length of Daveing time/Uninspired


My suggestion to you is that you bring a sefer to shul with you, and
during the periods when you are not doing your own davening, just
sit/stand quietly and learn from the sefer. Pick some topic in halacha,
Chumash, Talmud, Jewish thought etc that interests you. The only portion
that may be somewhat problematic is during the Rabbi's sermon, as some
Rabbis may become offended if you have a book open while they are
talking. On the other hand, I suspect most would prefer to have you
sitting in shul with a sefer open during their sermon than having you
outside, so my vote would be to stay inside with the the sefer. You will
also find that if you are clearly learning during points when others are
talking, they frequently will not bother you with conversation.



From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2007 19:12:12 +0000
Subject: More about shul / "slowing down"

Some thoughts about davening and todays shuls.

I made aliyah seven years ago and miss very much the "American" shul

I never gave much credence to the length of davening being a reason for
all the chatter in shul. My proof? Mincha shabbat afternoon takes a half
hour and there's just as much noise and talking as there is in the
morning. Maybe more - after all - "what did you talk about at your lunch
table?" And it's not as if I haven't seen you all week. I saw you this
morning. Unless you go to a different shul for mincha - to see those
folks you haven't seen all week. . . . It's enough for an Orthodox comic
to come up with an entire comedy routine. Oy!

I davened in a shul where the Rabbi introduced parshat hashavuah;
sometimes interrupted the torah reading for a great vort on a posuk;
intriduced the haftorah; gave a sermon - even if the bar mitzvah boy
gave one too. Maybe I'm wack-o, but I miss it. For most shul goers it
was their only chance to learn some torah.....

>From a recent article by Sara Yoheved Rigler on Aish.com:

While in India in 1979, I visited Sarnath, the place where, according to
Buddhist tradition, the Buddha attained enlightenment. At the center of
the site is a Buddhist stupa -- a large, solid, domed structure. The
proper protocol upon visiting a Buddhist stupa, I had been told, is to
make circuits around it. I joined perhaps a half dozen pilgrims who were
walking around and around the stupa.

At one point I noticed an old Buddhist monk in saffron robes walking
slowly, ever so slowly, ahead of me. I quickly overtook him. One circuit
later, I was again behind him and about to pass when I suddenly realized
my own absurdity. I said to myself: "Why are you walking so fast? You
have nowhere to go! You're walking in a circle! So why are you rushing?"

I immediately slowed down to the monk's pace. Then something amazing
began to happen. My mind slowed down, my mood relaxed, and I entered a
meditative state.


Slowing down is probably the single most efficacious way to improve your
life. It's good for your coronary health, your blood pressure, your
marriage, your relationship with your children and friends, and your
peace of mind.

It's also good for your Judaism. One of the biggest complaints Jews
voice against their religious practice is that they pray, say blessings,
or do mitzvot without "feeling anything." The culprit here is
RUSHING. If you rush through your prayers or say a blessing before you
eat as if the food will disappear in six nanoseconds if it doesn't reach
your mouth, then little wonder you feel nothing.

Maimonides, in his code of Jewish law, writes that it is incumbent upon
a Jew to pause before saying the central prayer, Shemona Esrai, in order
to remember the greatness of the God one is about to address. That
minute of inner preparedness can change the entire experience from rote
to relationship.

This vital pause can also be employed before reciting blessings and
doing mitzvot, in order to become conscious of what you are about to say
or do.  Consciousness requires taking the time to wake up from
"autopilot" and start flying the plane.

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 12:50:23 +0200
Subject: Talking in Shul

Please remember it's Adar when you read what follows:

A friend of mine was shushed with the question: "Do you come to Shul to
talk or to Daven?"

He replied: "To talk. I can Daven by myself at home."

Shmuel Himelstein

From: Irwin E. Weiss, Esquire <irwin@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 09:06:26 -0500
Subject: Talking in Shul

Talking in shul can be distracting to others and should be kept to a
minimum where possible. But, as Russell Jay Hendel points out, we
shouldn't be gagged, and we should rejoice if Hashem is with us in shul.
In this past week's parsha (Mishapatim), the text says, (From Shemot
24:9 -translation from Chabad website)" 9. And Moses and Aaron, Nadab
and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ascended, 10. and they
perceived the God of Israel, and beneath His feet was like the forming
of a sapphire brick and like the appearance of the heavens for
clarity. 11.  And upon the nobles of the children of Israel He did not
lay His hand, and they perceived God, and they ate and drank.

So, if eating and drinking can be done in the presence of the Shechinah,
a little chatter at shul about a proper subject matter is probably

Irwin Weiss

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2007
Subject: Talking in Shul


Your "proof text" above depends on how you interpret those verses. The
point from which you are deriving your proof, is actually a discussion /
disagreement among the major commentaries. The obvious question is what
is the meaning of "He did not lay his hand" and the relationship between
it and the the following two clauses - "they perceived God, and they ate
and drank". One group understand "He did not lay his hand" as meaning
he did not punish the aforementioned elders for their transgression that
even though "they perceived God", yet they still "ate and drank". This
approach would not support your desired proof. Another group understands
"He did not lay his hand" as meaning that the level of prophecy /
understanding / perception of God that they experienced was of a lower
level than that of Moshe, so that even though they did have some level
of "they perceived God", they were still able to "ate and drink". I
think that even this approach does not do well in supporting your
desired proof from this text.

I think that if I were trying to derive any message on the ongoing topic
from this verse, it would be to view it as a sequential state of
events. The first event is that of "they perceived God" and would focus
on trying to make my time during davening accomplish that, and once that
event is completed, I can they proceed to "they ate and drank" at the
after davening Kiddush. There one can feel free to talk to ones fellows
as one wishes (persuant to existing halachot regarding speech in
general, and speech in a shul building in particular (if such a
distinction exists outside the sanctuary room itself).


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 21:33:00 +0200
Subject: Talking in Shul

Ari wrote:

> Certainly G-d doesn't need our prayers!

I don't remember the exact source for this, but "hakadosh boruch hu
mitave letfilatam shel tzadikim" is part of our tradition. This is one
possible explanation for the matriarchs' infertility problems. This way,
they were forced to pray and satisfy G-d's desire for prayer, before
they could have children. I think it is Rav Neventzal (of the Old City)
who takes this idea one step further to explain that all of our problems
are in fact "G-d's request" for prayers.

Regarding the issue of talking in shul, I find this whole discussion
completely incredulous. While I am not about to argue fine points of
halacha (what did each one of the poskim mean when he wrote that one
shouldn't talk in shul), IMHO common sense and simple derech eretz
require a certain decorum.

Have you ever seen broadcasts of Muslim and Christian prayers (yes they
too have long drashot!). Do you think it would EVER cross their minds to
carry on a long pilpul of why it may be permissible to talk in mosque or
in church? Doesn't HKBH deserve that the Jews, His chosen people, show
Him at least as much respect as the other two (erroneous) religions do?

If nothing else, at the very least we should practice being quiet in
shul today, so that when the Bet Hamikdash will be build, we won't feel
the strong urge to talk to an acquaintance we haven't seen since last
aliya laregel.

Leah Aharoni
Hebrew/Russian/English translator
Email:  <leah25@...>

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 08:43:12 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Talking in Shul

> Hope this clarifies this...and if by chance you are in Baltimore and are
> in one of my shules feel free to walk over during ayn chaylokaynu and
> itnroduce yourself (without guilt)

If Russell and one of his talking buddies are in Brooklyn for Shabbos,
feel free to come to my shul for davening.  I will have one of then
daven shachris, the other musaf (including Ein Keilokeinu) and will give
them what we call "disciplinary aliyot", e.g., shlishi and chamishi.

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 07:44:30 -0500
Subject: Talking in Shul

I'm afraid we're going to beat this one to death.
I seldom disagree with Dr. Hendel -- but here I do.

The content of the conversation doesn't matter -- it's the venue (to 
include its impact on others.)

Whether it two gabbaim trying to figure out aliyahs during the period
after some people have finished their silent amidah, two scholars
pondering a Rashi between aliyahs or two fellows discussing the hair
club for men -- There is no reason that urgent conversation cannot be
taken outside (out of the sanctuary - perhaps the coat room, kiddish
room, etc.)  and non-time critical conversation cannot wait.

In our shul and many others Ain Kelohaynu -- is led by a youngster.
What lesson are we teaching that child if he looks about and sees people
talking, putting away their tallasim, etc.

Carl Singer

From: <edwardblack@...> (Edward Black)
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 13:41:54 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Talking in Shul

A propos Harry Weiss's point in the email below

> 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).

we came up with some "reduce talking" slogans to be included in
announcements by the Gabbai. I am happy to waive my copyright in "SAVE
THE SCHMOOZE FOR THE BOOZE" (i.e talk all you like during kiddush but
not during davening)

and a propos the point made by another poster:


Yours silently
Edward Black

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 17:27:55 GMT
Subject: Re: Talking in Shul

     Russell J Hendel writes: 

<In fact...151:2 **explicitly** prohibits doing "calculations 
including charitable calucations"---in other words a mi shebayrach 
with an amount is prohibited.>

     In fact, what that source says is the very opposite of what Dr.
Hendel wrote.  In discussing the sanctity of a synagogue, 151:2 reads,
"Calculations are not made therein, *unless* they are of mitzvah, such
as the charity fund . . ."



End of Volume 54 Issue 16