Sunday, October 15, 2006

Simchas Torah

Simchas Torah is not my favorite holiday. The dancing does little or nothing for me. I am of an intellectual bent and dancing in a circle just does not give me simcha. I know that there are many people like me. I have a friend who when I showed him the Rav's machzor on YK his face lit up with joy. He was genuinely happy to see the new machzor and look at it. The same thing did not happen when he danced on Simchas Torah. People have to realize that not everyone is affected in the same way by certain things and allow for that. I get real simcha when I hear a good shiur on a sugya that I am learning, that affects me much more then any dancing on Simchas Torah.

In most shuls there is a group of people who take control and shlep things out for hours dancing and enjoying while many others just stand around waiting fro the hakafos to end. There are many people who feel like they are being held hostage. People try to make you fell guilty if you take a sefer and learn and you really can't sit down so it is an uncomfortable situation.

The fact is that the length of the hakafos leads to halachic issues:
1. In Israel, Mincha Gedola was around 12:00PM. Therefore, any shul that didn't start mincha before 12:00PM (many many shuls), had a shaila whether to daven mincha first of mussaf first. If you daven mincha first what about geshem, do you say mashiv haruach or not? UPDATE - I forgot to include (and the first commenter pointed this out) that lechatchela you should daven mussaf before the 7th hour which was about 12:40.
2. Where I live many shuls finished after 2PM. Shkia is around 5:15. That means we had 3 hours to go home eat the second seuda, daven mincha and then eat the 3rd seuda. Not very practical if a typical Yom Tov meal takes 2 hours.
3. This year was Shabbos meaning there was a chiyuv to eat a 3rd meal. Given that the second meal didn't end until after 4PM and then we had to daven mincha there was not much time or will to eat a 3rd meal.
4. Bitul Oneg Yom Tov. Even though many shuls have a kiddush during hakafos (to get around the issue of fasting) a few pieces of cake is not exactly satisfying. By the time 2PM rolled around my kids were starving (they didn't want to eat until their father came home from shul).
5. The same thing happens at night, davening ended around 9PM, my younger kids were either sleeping or half a sleep, basically they missed out on the Yom Tov meal.


Guy In EY said...

#1 - the Gra was also an "intellect" who liked learning more than dancing. Same goes for many many Rabbonim and Talmidei Chachomim. The dancing isnt the cause of the Simcha, its supposed to be the EXPRESSION of the Simcha. Learn the whole sukkos, the whole hoshana rabba... and that is cause for one to jump for joy, to sing and dance all night and all day long.

At a chassanah, do you dance to get excited or as a result of being excited? I assumed the latter. Since Im so excited for this guy, im going to dance. Thats why the Chosson and his friends are more "into" the dancing than, for example, the kallahs third cousin, or a friend of the kallah's husband.

#2 - as for the all day long affair - a piece of advice is - daven vasikin and then head out to hakafos somewhere else - or to a number of different places if you have a few shuls that you like

This takes care of #1, 2, 3 and 4. For #5, you can just leave early. I dont think there is any chiyuv to stay by all of the hakafos. Perhaps you can convince someone in your shul to slipt the 7 hakafos over dinner, with 4 hakafos after dinner, or for you yourselfto just leave after 2 or 3 and come back in an hour for the last one/two.

A bigger problem than davening mincha before mussaf is that one should daven mussaf before the 7th hour which is 12:40 or so i believe.

Mike Miller said...

Our Rav was very makpid that hakafos should be around 30 minutes... total.

At night, we started Ma'ariv at around 6:00, and were home (to enjoy a seudah with all the kids!) by 7:45.

In the morning, we started at 7:00am, and finished (with hakafos, geshem, yizkor, etc) by 11:30. Again, plenty of time for a seudah, break, and a meaningful shalosh seudos / neilas hachag!

bluke said...

That is great, I wish I davened in your shul.

nyfunnyman said...

we basically have the same problem in america, minus the problem of saying mashiv haruach at mincha before geshem. i agree the system is bad. what should be done is each hakafa should be for 8-10 minutes with 2 songs (about 4-5 minutes each). therefore the whole hakafos comes out to about 1-1:15 minutes. people will get into it. and those who want to get into it for 2-3 hakafos will. as most shuls have it now, getting into it, lmeans committing for 2 more hours. the only places that can pull off something other than this is yeshivos- they can go for a long time.