Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What's Your Dream Version of Shabbos?

The few times I go to shul, I usually spend thinking "this could be so much better." Of course, my version would cause mass panic and gnashing of teeth, so clearly I mean that in a subjective sense.

Godol Hador has commented extensively on potato kugel as an almost mystical aspect of the enjoyment of Shabbos. I just don't like potatoes so much. I do like cholent, and feel there is much argument to be made for cholent as the quintessence of OJ enjoyment.

Anyway, in a comment to the first blog, I joked that I'd love a shul with a 1 hour minyan and a 2 hour kiddush. But, it's true. I like to socialize with the guys at shul. It's funny just how interesting they become on Shabbos. The rest of the week or year, I could care less if I see most of them! So, in response to the OU ban on kiddush clubs, perhaps my shul would be kiddush-centric with davening clubs! :)

I truly would be happy to have a stripped down version of davening, perhaps with some different prayers. Mussaf would be the first to go. The prayers would be meditative and you could sit, stand, whatever you wanted. It would be silent- no moving whispering lips to prove to the tzibur you're really davening. Then, the parsha reading, and someone knowledgeable would give a drash. Now, you might be thinking- just go to a reform/conservative temple. But they lack the no driving on shabbos rule. I think that's a must. You need people to live nearby the shuls in order to have a community.

I also happen to like the deprivation of tv's microphones and lesbian rabbis, so those other movements are out for me.

What's your dream shabbos? It might be helpful to think of a place you went away to for a "shabbaton" and no one in your community would find out. Hint: it may help you decide what you really want out of yiddiskeit, since recall how important it is to have a positive game plan in life.

And if you just hate shabbos, the "god-idea", and jews, then... nevermind. I probably wouldn't want to come to your house for Shabbos anyway if that's the case!


Blogger ifyouwillit said...

Hey, welcome to the blogsphere. I just read your post and really liked them, you write well.

Shabbat is a very personal issue, you know - Judaism is, and all too often, people are afriad to break the norm or stray from the crowd because it's not the "done thing" but I am a believer that there is no one right way for everyone.

Good luck with the blog - would you be willing to link me? I will add you to my links too.

11/02/2005 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Larry Lennhoff said...

For what it is worth, a Saturday morning Reform service is close to what you describe - a very abbreviated prayer service (no mussaf, only 1 paragraph Shema, generally 1 psalm for pisukei dzimra etc.). The few times I've been to them I personally felt like I was looking at the long dead bleached white bones of Jewish tefilla, but lots of Reform Jews disagree with me. The kiddush at R shuls is frequently non-kosher, but rarely not kosher-style. Challah is virtually always present, but no birkat afterwards. The service usually lasts an hour to an hour and a half, the kiddish half an hour to an hour.

11/02/2005 9:36 AM  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

For what it is worth, there is more to OJ than the mystical approach nonsense that turns you off. And kiruv drivel is universally nauseating. If you honestly follow your own advice, and recall those things that you became frum for, you can effectively downplay the rest.

If 5 minutes of davening at home, instead of 45 minutes plus commute to shul, fulfills your needs, no one needs to have anything to say about it. If you enjoy the Sukah, but hate worrying about every matzah crumb getting wet, guess what, so does everyone. If you have the overwhelming urge to do some "sin", even a serious one, who needs to hear about it, and what business is it of theirs? What difference to the corpus judaica does it make if Noah was literal or allegorical?

The main things are the same for frum, frei or orthoprax. Make decisions based on what is best for the family. Anything that would hurt them, keep it well out of eyesight and hearing range.

11/02/2005 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Larry Lennhoff said...

Having read your the rest of your post, yeah microphones and lesbian(and more likely just female) rabbis are possible at an R shul, and driving to shul is a given (although you don't have to - I walked to an R shul for shabbat often and only one person (ex-O) complained).

Personally if I could combine C Ruach (mostly congregational singing and everyone being on the same page at the same time) and a slightly shorter service (aliyot w/o mishaberachs, only some pisukei d'zimra, birkot hashachar done at home, no prayer for State of Israel/IDF/US/US Army) with the rest of a traditional O shabbat - learning for 5 minutes after the services, big meals with zemirot and divrei torah, shabbat nap, usual melachot restrictions) that would pretty much be my ideal. If I got to control other people, I'd have more talk of torah and personal lives and less talk of sports and business.

Oh yeah - and every week a 3 day weekend for shomer shabbat Jews only so we can make up for constantly missing half our weekend. :>)

11/02/2005 10:02 AM  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

Chazanus would be utterly banned. And any darshan would have to pass tests in:
Having at some point in his life experienced what the h*** he is talking about

11/02/2005 12:14 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Larry and rebel, thanks. I've seen you both post intelligently on GH and this is an entirely different context.

Your posts are fascinating because Larry, because you have actually tried the things I wonder about and Rebel your suggestions match my thoughts with one exception.

What about the chinuch question, Rebel? I just can't teach this stuff to my kids- the oral law, the bible stories. I don't mind them believing in god, but where do you draw the line?

ifyouwillit- I will look at your site. I spend several months in Israel. I call it MIseryal! I don't know how you do it. But you're young, you don't have to stay forever. If you are loving it, then stick with it, but it sure aint' for me.

11/02/2005 1:08 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der ┼íteg) said...

Lots of good singing. Of course, 'good signing' is all in the ear of the beholder, so everyone would just have to have their own minyan and sing what they want how they want :-P .

11/02/2005 2:10 PM  
Blogger Mis-nagid said...

My ideal shabbos? I don't know. I know some of the things it would include, in some sort of order:

1) Lots of study. Both alone and with a group. I enjoy little more than learning something I didn't know.
2) Lots of rest. And I don't mean sleep.
3) Lots of family. Who sees their kids enough?

I'm intentionally leaving out related dogmas, as they're orthogonal to the aspects I like. Where they clash, like writing while studying, I'd choose to discard the dogma.

11/02/2005 2:21 PM  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

Chinuch? Very traditional. I encourage them to think about what they hear in class and what they learn in sefarim. I encourage them not to accept anything that doesn't make sense until they are fully satisfied with the answer, and that they should never be fully satisfied with any answer. I encourage them to question and to demand sensible answers. I warn them that they will not get to the bottom of everything, certainly not as children and there are some things that nobody knows, even if they claim to. I encourage them to think out of the box. And I teach them that Jewish sages are brilliant at allegory.

What did they used to call that before fundamentalism and mystical approach took over Judaism .... oh yeah, learning Torah.

11/03/2005 4:58 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

Very interesting, RJew. I take you don't find davening too hard to swallow? IOW, you get into a flow of some sort with it?

How much do you enforce saying brachas on the kids? I'm curious how far it goes.

Some say being very strict is the only way to go and that leniency in halacha leads to kids just going OTD.

11/03/2005 5:12 PM  
Blogger BTA said...

steg- do you have some favorite CD's to recommend?

I'm a big music lover and find most jewish music totally lacking. I blame it on the annoying prohibition on playing on shabbos (even though King David apparently did if you read the tehillim on shabbos).

11/03/2005 5:17 PM  
Blogger Rebeljew said...

Some people daven for an hour and get something out of it. Some poeple ask why 5 minutes of babbling should take an hour. The general rule as with every area of practice is (drum roll):
If it takes you to a good place, a more positive life outlook, a stronger more settled place, even if it is hard or doesn't make you "happy", it is a good thing to pursue. If it takes you to a bad place, a weaker position, a less settled place, it is a bad thing.

Example: If davening gives me a spiritual high, if I enjoy meditation, emptying my mind, blasting stress, then by all means I should daven longer.
If I am caught up in a neurotic tedium of making sure my tefilin is like this and tallis is like that and I pronounced every word with the proper kabalistic kavanas and customary caveats, I should be yotzi with the minimum.

With the kids, I would teach them all of the "hows" in whatever way was best fitting. My kids know all of the brachas, the bentching and the kidush. I do not have them say anything more than one line brachas until they can read. You never figure out "why" or even "why not" if you do not learn "how". Beyond that, it is only an illusion that we have any long term influence over our children, in regards to what they end up believing and doing. Children don't care about all the reasons. They just want to know when you are passing out the candy, when the bell is going to ring, and when the game starts. They seem to enjoy the how.

That said, when they start asking why, I would encourage that they research until they have a fully satisfying answer. (When they do, I hope they tell me what it is, because I am dying to know.)

11/04/2005 9:21 AM  
Blogger blueenclave said...

Ideal Shabbos:
Get up early. Do all of davening. The Pezukei d'Zimrah for Shabbos are nice.
Get to learn all day. Bring cheese sandwiches to shul. In middle of day, take walk.

11/10/2005 2:16 PM  
Blogger blueenclave said...

Not have to do hefsek because it was done earlier in the week.

11/10/2005 2:17 PM  
Anonymous judi said...

Ideal Shabbos-
good weather for walk to shul
favorite friends not out of town that weekend
good dvar
good scotch
enough lox at kiddush
friends dropping by for lunch
good homemade challah
cholent not too gloppy
hanging out & resting & learning with friends
early havdallah

11/16/2005 9:11 PM  

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