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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Talking in Shul...

Chaviva, who is probably working on the latest Havel Havelim as I type this on my keyboard-- so please keep checking her blog so you'll be the first to see it-- wrote about one of her pet peeves, talking in shul (synagogue services.)

We are supposed to "talk" in shul, but we're only supposed to "talk" to G-d. That's what prayer is.  If you ask a rabbi the straight question of whether it's important to understand the prayers or mumble gibberish, you'll be told that you should understand what you're saying.  So if you take that question one step further and ask if you should pray from translation in order to understand the prayers, and have an easier time staying focused on them, most rabbis will tell you to use a bilingual siddur, prayerbook.

Just like the children who disturb in class and are discovered to have some learning problem that makes it hard to follow the teacher, many people who talk non-stop in shul just can't relate to the prayers.  Honestly, it's better to bring a good translation and come for a shorter time.

Prayers time isn't "social" time, and if you talk, you make it harder for others to concentrate.  If you're bringing young children, make sure they have quiet toys with them, not something that will disturb others.  And when the kids get bored, go out.

Our neighborhood Shiloh shul started Junior Congregation and has had a special Children's Kiddush for years already.  There is also a playground behind the shul near the ramp to the "extra" women's section for wheelchairs and baby carriages.

There's nothing educational in taking a young kid to shul where he screams:
"I wanna go home!"

Small spiritual doses are better than tiring the patience of all.  If you want a more social experience, join the crew who sets up the kiddush while the rest of us pray.  I did that when my kids were young.  Now I'm the nasty old lady who shushes.

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