Monday, July 12, 2010

Imposing Stringencies On Others

At mincha/maariv this evening I was privy to be part of the conversation as to what time mincha would be Tisha BiAv eve. The Rabbi who usually makes the schedule decided that it should be at 6:30 PM in order to give people time to eat the Seudas Hamafsekes (meal before the fast). One of the people who is usually in charge of a lot of things in this shul came up to him and said that mincha should be later, around 7 PM. The Rabbi in charge of the schedule replied that he wanted to give time for people to eat the Seudas Hamafsekes. The other person started going off on how there was no need to give a lengthy amount of time because one could only eat a little bit of bread and water, perhaps an egg.

At this point I got involved. I quickly whipped out my blackberry, where I have a Shulchan Orech (I know, shtark right), and I immediately turned to siman 552:6. It says that that whoever is ABLE should just eat bread and water and the Rama adds that there is a minhag to dip some food in ashes. The Mishna Berura also adds that one need not minimize the amount of food they eat. In fact, they should make sure to eat enough that they are able to fast the whole Tisha BiAv.

After I showed this gentleman this passage inside, he immediately went to look it up in a Mishna Berura that was on the shelf. He thought he was so right that he said to me, "But what does the Mishna Berura say." I said tat I had just told him, but he was interesting. After reading it inside his rebuttal consisted of saying that the minhag is to not eat anything else and that no one eats more than just the bread and water.

I was so shocked how ridiculous this person was being. I told him, "Who are you to impose a Mi Sheh'efshar (whoever is able) on the whole congregation. The Shulchan Orech says that "Whoever is able" should only eat bread and water during the Seudas Hamafsekes. It is reasonable, if not our obligation, to give time to those who are not able. To this he stormed off, but what could he do, the Rabbi in charge was not going to change his mind anyway.

Then another topic in the schedule came up. This guy was upset that we were davening (praying) Maariv at 8:40. I showed him, with my trusty blackberry this (from
Fast Ends
R' Tukaccinsky    

  • The fast of תשעה באב ends with the
    emergence of ג' כוכבים בינונים at -

  •   8:41 PM
    R' Moshe Feinstein    

  • One who finds fasting difficult may eat at -

      8:44 PM

  • One who does not find fasting difficult
    should wait until the time for מוצאי שבת at -

      8:51 PM

    After this he said, "So we should wait to daven until 8:51!" The Rabbi in charge turned to him and said, "No, we want to time it so that we are done davening when the fast is over."

    I do not know for sure, but I am pretty positive that this guy who kept arguing with the Rabbi has never heard of something called tircha ditzibur (puting strain of the congregation). The Rabbi knew much better that everyone wanted to get home as soon as the fast was over, especially since it is Tisha BiAv! How come this guy thinks it is his RIGHT to force his more stringent views on others? Especially since what he is trying to do is COMPLETELY unnecessary? It is just one of these arrogant attitudes of people that don't know the proper way. That is the only explanation. Be stringent on yourself, why do you have to force others? This is especially true when the others ARE keeping the halacha CORRECTLY, but you just want to add your stringent practices on them. Is that the RIGHT way? I do not think so.

    The best line this guy had to me was, "What do you do." Personally, I am pretty stringent on myself, but that is irrelevant! The congregation is what matters and even if there are only a few people that need the more lenient approach, it is worth it that they come to shul, daven, fast and not be turned off than to force everyone to be stringent and lose them or risk them being "bitter" at G-D, wouldn't you agree?


    Nosson Gestetner said...

    Good post - I wish I had the bekius to do this on the spot with someone!

    E-Man said...

    It is all the blackberry. Get one and you will have great "bekius," just like me.

    But really, thanks.

    Baruch Pelta said...

    Great post man. I find it odd that you and this fellow are davening at the same place...I think he'd find the yeshiva more suited to his tastes.

    E-Man said...

    The Tower, all types pray there. Funniest thing I saw. So, you know how some people think they need jackets for davening. There was a guy who apparently lost his jacket (or medication) and he find a pink jacket that looked lick it was meant for a 1 year old. He wrapped the sleeves around his neck and used that as "his jacket." He looked utterly ridiculous. It was such a bizayon. Complete contradicted the reason why one SHOULD wear a jacket.

    All I have to say is there are a lot of funny people in the tower.