Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Little Things

A little while ago I went to hear a shiur on the topic of the Halachos of “Little Things”. He started it off with a little story of one time when he was on the plane and a woman sitting next to him asked him if he was Jewish. He told her yes, and she then asked him to summarize Judiasm in one or two lines. So he told her that everything Jews do are governed by Godly laws. There’s even laws on how to button a shirt, how to tie shoes and how to go to sleep.

Previously I wondered about why boys and girls shirt buttons are different. So then he spoke about that and said that we are supposed to do everything right first. So same with buttons, it’s supposed to be right over left. I think that’s the way girls shirts are. So The Chazon Ish and Steipler would do over the buttons of their shirt so that it should be right over left. The reason why is because right stands for chesed and left for Din, so this way it’s asking for Hashem’s Chesed to come before His Din. Another Halacha he said about right over left that I didn’t know, is that we are supposed to wash our right body parts before our left.

Next Halacha that people forget about is that you can’t talk in the bathroom. Even though the bathrooms of today are different from back then the Halacha still applies. There are two exceptions though, one is if your just going in the bathroom to use the mirror or wash your hands then you can talk in there. The second way to be lenient is if the person didn’t relieve themselves yet and it’s a Tzaroch Gadol to talk, then he may talk.

The age of Chinuch starts at six, so for most Halachos you don’t try to teach your children it until six, no matter how smart and capable they are at a younger age. An exception to this is with Netilas Yadayim, that you are supposed to start with by young age children even under the age of 6. Some may even start with babies, just to wash their hands to get them used to it.

I forgot where this came in, but I remember he mentioned that if he were to try to write a chumra sefer it wouldn’t sell. It was a funny thing to hear, since I’m always hearing about people complaining about Chumras. So here you can be comforted that the Rabbi’s know people don’t like Chumras, so they won’t try to force it on you.

While I was by the shiur I noticed a few things. One is I saw some ladies doing needle pointing while they were recording the shiur with a tape recorder. It seemed as though they were relaxing to a shiur, an interesting idea. Next thing I noticed is that a lot of girls/woman there were wearing nebby clothes. I wondered why that was, is it because going to a shiur is considered a nebby thing? Why is it that the “good” people who want to improve their Yiddishkeit are looked down on as nebs, while the rule breakers are considered the “cool” ones?

Now the next topic was very new to me, it was about Atifas yeshmailim which I’ve never heard about before. It was on how to put on a Talis the right way. I’ve never seen the men davening Shachris, so I never got to see it. The shiur was set up so that the woman were up stairs and the men down stairs, so I still didn’t get to see how it’s done. But he explained it in a way that you just had to see it to understand. Although one part I remember is that the whole face is supposed to be covered except the slit of the eyes, and then it’s thrown over. This makes sense now, cause I remember seeing in a Pruz video, that a man was throwing his talis back and forth.

Another thing he demonstrated which I didn’t get to see was how to hold your hands by Davening. He said your never allowed to cross your hands a certain way, I asked my father afterwards to show me, and it’s like this:

Now, Shorty, this one is for you. Previously Shorty asked about how loud your supposed to Daven. So he spoke about that, and he said that the Zohar says you actually can’t hear yourself when you daven, that it has to be annunciated, that you said it, but it’s not allowed to be heard.

This next thing he said I was very impressed with and liked very much. He said one time there was a man mumbling in his daveneing, that you couldn’t understand what he was saying. So then it was told to R’ Levi Yitzchak who tried to make a Limud Zechus for him. He said that the man mumbling sounds like baby talk which we can’t understand. But Just like a parent understands their child’s baby talk. Hashem is our father, he understands the man’s “baby talk”. I thought that was beautiful.

He spoke about Modim, how you are supposed to bend down. He said he noticed that by girls they tend to do it wrong, that they bend their knees first, that really your supposed to just bend straight down.

15 comments:

Shorty said...

Thanks for sharing these wonderful lessons!

So how should you hold your hands?

The Babysitter said...

Your welcome!

So your supposed to have them right over left. It's hard to explain, but like not one on top of the other, but to an angle. Also, he said that your allowed to have your hands behind your back too.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Sorry, but I feel the need to comment:

"The Chazon Ish and Steipler would do over the buttons of their shirt so that it should be right over left."- That's (obviously) not a halakhah just a "minhag based on kabalah". (In Europe mens shirts were also right over left).

"I noticed that a lot of girls/woman there were wearing nebby clothes."- What in the world is that supposed to mean?

"..the whole face is supposed to be covered except the slit of the eyes, and then it’s thrown over."- Sfaradim debate that point, and feel the Ashkenazi way of putting on the talit is a bit "misguided". We beleive the face should remain showing and should only go over the shoulders once (Ashkenazim consistantely throw it back and fourth over their shoulders).

"He said your never allowed to cross your hands a certain way"- While crossing ones hands in that way may go against some kabalistic principles, I beleive it wrong to portray that as being "halakhah" (it's being prohibited is not written anywhere).

Also: About the hands by davening; I don't know, I supposedely follow halakhah but find myself looking very different by davening than eveyone else. One main thing is the hands; like he said, they should be over each other. Sefaradim feel that having them swaying back and fourth or held behind ones back are very disrespectful to G-d.

"..that you said it, but it’s not allowed to be heard."- Again, that's slightly more "kabalistic". In the more "halakhic" view you should hear yourself slightly.

"..mumbling in his daveneing, that you couldn’t understand what he was saying...R’ Levi Yitzchak tried to make a Limud Zechus for him."- Yes, but "ofically" it shows he attaches little import or respect to the davening. i.e. you shouldn't judge such people, but you shouldn't do it yourself.

"..that they bend their knees first, that really your supposed to just bend straight down."- Again, the opinion of the Sefaradim is that that whole "knee bending" thing is a bit onsourced. We feel every bow is without knee bending.

Oh, wow, that was fun. Thanks! ; )

Jendeis said...

Interesting shiur.

In manufactured clothing, women's and men's shirt buttons are traditionally sewn on different sides because women used to have servants help them dress, while men used to dress themselves. Apparently, it's easier for you to dress someone else when the buttons are sewn on the left (as you face the shirt).

Mikeinmidwood said...

Shema is also something taught before six years old.

Lion of Zion said...

1) similar to the commenter above, i'm curious exactly how you (or the rav) define הלכה

2) "So he told her that everything Jews do are governed by Godly laws."

this not true, either in how it describes jews or in how it attempts to distinguish jews from gentiles. (as an aside, rabbonim don't do well when they try to compare judaism to other religions.)

anyway, i once had a similar experience with a rural tow-truck driver who wanted me to explain the differences between judaism and christianity

3) "he mentioned that if he were to try to write a chumra sefer it wouldn’t sell."

what does this mean? basically any practical modern halakhah sefer you buy today in the stores is a chumra sefer

4) "It seemed as though they were relaxing to a shiur, an interesting idea"

sounds a little chutzpadik. (although i won't tell you what i do when the rabbi speaks in shul shabbat morning)

5) "it’s not allowed to be heard"

the gemara learns this strait from חנה in ספר שמואל

personally i find it very annoying when people daven out loud and it's one reason i dislike shtiebels

Lion of Zion said...

"for most Halachos you don’t try to teach your children it until six"

what about ברכות, ציצית, כשרות, etc., as well as all the בין אדם לחברו stuff?

good shabbos

nmf #7 said...

Actually- the bowing down thing is perpetrated by Artscroll. For a bracha- B"A"H- they say bend knees, then bow, then straighten. For Modim- it is different.
Now how about the question- how long should you remain bent by Modim? That has caused me a ton of anguish, what with different answers by different rabbanim.

nmf #7 said...

Oh- and echoing LOZ's comment- there is a age of Chinuch that children do reach- sometimes they even know what Shabbos is by age 2 or so!

The Babysitter said...

Shlomo: right he said that it wasn't a Halacha just something that those did.

About Nebby clothes- I don't mean to be judgmental or anything. Perhaps it's just a girls thing to understand what that means. Maybe I shouldn't have said it, but I was going to write more about it.

Interesting to learn about the different ways. I'm still not sure how Ashkenazim do it.

Ok could be that it's not a Halacha. I mean I've never heard about it before. Maybe it's more like something that shouldn't be done. Rather than not being able to.

Right, so he said different views about the davening, and hearing yourself.

Right, so he said how the R' thought that it showed no respect. And yea, not good to judge people, and not good to do it yourself. That's the way I look at things, I will do the right thing, but I won't hold it against others for doing differently.

Interesting about the bending.

Your welcome, Glad you had fun!

The Babysitter said...

Jendeis: yea, it was. Thanx for the information. In my other posts someone had brought that up. It makes sense.

MikeInMidwood: That makes sense, as it's very important, a foundation. Just like Torah Tziva Lanu and Modeh ani are also taught at a young age.

The Babysitter said...

Lion Of Zion: yea, I wasn't too impressed either with the way he defined Judiasm. But perhaps he was joking a bit, and just used it as a way to introduce his topic.

O, really, I wasn't aware that the Halacha sefarim have chumras in it. Although I remember hearing a lot about machmir v. meikil.

I thought it was chutzpadik too, but I figured I'd give them the benefit of the doubt.

yea, it can be distracting when people daven out loud.

good point...those are mitzvos you teach young children.

Now it's almost Friday, so I can say Good Shabbos back.

The Babysitter said...

NMF#7: right, so that's what he discussed. He said about Modim that you should bow by Modim and be standing up by Hashem's name.

Right, so they may know what shabbos is at 2. But they don't have the chiuv to keep shabbos at that age. Even though a 2 year old understand what Muktzah is, you can't drive him crazy about it.

NMF #7 said...

Babysitter- there is a heter if a light is on to place a little one (under understanding age) near the switch and have them on their own switch the light off on Shabbos. My Rav is always saying to be careful with this- as his 2 year old, when placed near a light, stopped and said, "But, Tatte- it's Shabbos!". When they get that age- they do understand. Even about small things- you'd be surprised. Although- you are right, they don't have the chiyuv. But if they know- they can observe.

The Babysitter said...

NMF#7: your right about that, I remember learning to be careful with using little kids to turn on lights.

Right, there's no harm in them observing what they know.

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