Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mourners Getting Alíyas

It seems to be a commonly-accepted custom that, while mourners are encouraged to lead prayers on weekdays, they are discouraged from leading prayers on Shabbat and holidays — even though otherwise, holidays and Shabbosim cancel all public displays of mourning. I wonder why... should probably ask my rav about that.*

Anyway, the discouragement of aveilim from serving as ohrer-forer (prayer leader) on Shabbat extends to leining, although there seems to be more room for leniency there; maybe because Torah cantillation takes more training than simply leading prayers (unless you're talking about classical hhazanut). So for instance, one of the minyans I go to when I'm on the Upper West Side of Manhattan for Shabbos was in need of someone to lein my bar mitzva parsha, and so it was fine for me to help them out.

However, it seems that in some communities it is similarly customary for mourners to refrain from being called up to the Torah on Shabbos, while in other communities they hold that an aveil getting an alíya is a good thing. So if you're a gabbai in the second type of community, and someone you offered an alíya to doesn't want to take it because they're in mourning, don't be confused.

This has been a public service announcement from the Committee for Intra-Jewish Multicultural Understanding.

* i asked, and he said that while aveilut is never really about straightforward logic, but about what communities decided to do, it could be that not taking certain public roles, since it's a passive act, doesn't necessarily signal mourning; there are many reasons someone might not want to step up, after all.

19 Comments:

Blogger Lipman said...

In this as in other situations, refusing a mitzve is a difficult thing to do.

6/08/2007 2:59 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

"This has been a public service announcement from the Committee for Intra-Jewish Multicultural Understanding."
ROTFL

"...they are discouraged from leading prayers on Shabbat and holidays — even though otherwise, holidays and Shabbosim cancel all public displays of mourning"

What do you mean by "even though"? Maybe that precisely is the reason. (i.e. since on S&YT there's no public aveilus, the avile doesn't go to the omud on S&YT.) -refer to previous post- ;-)

(Also how does Shabbat become Shabbosim in plural? Isn't it Shabbat - Ahabbatot or Shabbes, Shabbosim? Refer to Susie Q post ;-) )

AFAIK one isn't supposed (allowed?) to refuse an aliya.

There's this middle-aged guy in our shul who suffered a bad bad accident a while ago, and been in frail health since, so he asked the gabbai NOT to offer him any aliyes. (Because he has to stand up and walk all the way from the back of the shul - a full four yards. Not a good reason, IMHO, but it's his body, his health, his decision.) Anyway, one Shabes the gabbai gives him an aliya without asking before, so the guy storms out of the shul. That was pretty bad, IMHO. Iwas especially saddened because they're both my friends and IMHO they were both wrong. Go figure.

6/08/2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Lipman:

you can say that again

Anti:

interesting theory... because aveilim daven fore the amud, davening fore the amud itself becomes associated with expressing their aveilut; and so if there's no public expression of aveilut, there's no davening fore the amud...

don't ask me to be consistent ;-) i've actually written things where קבלה is transliterated beginning with a Q, a K, and a C (not all at the same time, though).

sorry about your friends in shul. sounds like it would've taken much less effort to accept the alíya than to storm out of the building, though.

6/08/2007 2:06 PM  
Anonymous Mike S. said...

There is a discussion in the poskim (or should I write "poseqim"?) about Rabbeinu Tam taking his customary aliyah on the Shabbat while he was in shivah. I am not sure of the original source, but the Aruch Hashulchan discusses it. He says that because Rabbeinu Tam always had Shlishi, for him not to receive the aliyah would be a public act of mourning. However, for most people, who don't get an aliyah every week any way, it is a private act of mourning and done on Shabbat.

As far as leining goes, I have seen a difference made between (in the case of one mourning a parent) sh'loshim and the year of mourning (i.e., the regular ba'al kriah resumed leining after sh'loshim)

6/08/2007 2:20 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

re: poskim/poseqim, write whatever you want. contrary to what you may have heard, i'm not a linguistic chauvinist. i'm a descriptive linguist.

thanks for the reference to Rabbeinu Tam; it fits in to what i had been told.

6/08/2007 3:08 PM  
Blogger PsychoToddler said...

You probably remember that I was asked to layn on Shavuos right after my father died. Technically, Shavuos ended my shloshim. I think the question was raised on my blog as to whether it was permissible to layn during my aveilus. I looked in the books I had and found nothing about it, just davening from the amud.

In any event, since no one else was available to layn then (and many times afterwards, so it seemed), it was fine for me to do it.

6/08/2007 8:01 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

i'm not a linguistic chauvinist. i'm a descriptive linguist.

For the uninitiated: The difference between prescriptive and descriptive linguists may be compared to the one between behavioural therapists and psychoanalysts.

Behavioural therapists and grammar purists tell you that you do things wrong and how you're supposed to do it, while psychoanalysts and descriptive linguists let you talk and take notes.

We latter would never judge, heaven forbid. We just sit there with an arrogant smile and remark things like "Interesting. In a way," or "O-o-ohkay. Nono, go on."

6/09/2007 6:12 PM  
Anonymous Mike S. said...

I didn't mean to spark the discussion of linguistics--that was an (apparently unsuccessful) attempt at humor after the thread on transliteration and character.

6/09/2007 11:24 PM  
Blogger Lipman said...

Sure. You didn't take serious what I wrote, did you?

6/10/2007 5:40 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

"We latter would never judge, heaven forbid. We just sit there with an arrogant smile and remark things like "Interesting. In a way," or "O-o-ohkay. Nono, go on." "

ROTFL - Hey! You just judged! (i.e. yourself!)

PS - Steg & everyone else - please Joe or Yossi - I'm only signing in with blog name because someone has already used my name on other blogs, so it's just a safety measure.

6/10/2007 6:51 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

Steg

"davening fore the amud itself becomes associated with expressing their aveilut;" Yeah, well, I mean, you put it as best as possible. I guess even if it isn't aveilus or a sign of it per se, it somehow becomes associated, as you stated. Also note on Rosh Chodesh there are different minhagim as whether davening by the omud or not.

6/10/2007 6:56 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Anti-Joe/Yossi:

there's even more extreme than that — in FFD"H they don't have aveilim lead davening on any day when Tahhanun isn't said.

6/10/2007 8:53 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

I'm not anti-Joe, I'm anti-anti ;-)
(or anti green goblin. or green bloggin ;-) )

6/10/2007 9:14 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

what's FFD"H

6/10/2007 9:14 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

FFD"H = פֿראנקפֿורט דעל האדסן
(Frankfurt-on-Hudson). a.k.a. KAJ/Breuer's

[based on FFD"M = פֿראנקפֿורט דעל מיין]
(Frankfurt-am-Main), their source community.

6/10/2007 9:24 AM  
Blogger The Anti-Semite said...

LOL

186th st or something. I'v been there once. Prety close after the GWB, if memory serves.

Although in a strictly logical POV I don't see how people notice if the shat"z is an oveil or not. Unless they know. In any case, in my inital comment I meant that the oveil bavening bei omud -or, rather, davening at the omud by an oveil- is somehow associated with aveilus. Otherwise, if davening by the omud per-se would become a sort of aveilus there should be no shat"z at all on Shabbes! I guess that's what we were both missing. Or mis-articulating.

PS -

This Shabbes I "met" you in shul. (Incidentally that's Bnei Yeshurun on Park LN in Monsey, not so far from YI of Spring Valley where a certain king used to daven, IIRC). Anyway I noticed that the term used for "spying" in our haftora is " 'lachpor' [es ho'orets]". Right then I thought to myself "uh-oh. Tonight at 9:XX [XX=6.37 seconds after Steg's mihag of zman Motsai Shabbes] there's a post going up on the Gobblin King about how the English expression for "dig it", as in "check this out" comes from Hebrew - and then a whole study on the subject. :-)

6/10/2007 10:52 AM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

although i think we both understood what we meant by the davening-fore-the-amud bit, you-being-me are much more creative than i-being-me am. :-P

6/10/2007 9:25 PM  
Anonymous Joe in Australia said...

Maybe it isn't the davening per se, but the use of festive tunes? Or maybe it's linked to the korban musaf in some way.

6/12/2007 10:39 PM  
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