Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nine Days Part 2

During the three weeks as well as during the sefirah period there is a custom which is halacha that men should not shave. During sefira there are different customs to when you can not shave and some people hold that it is only during the nine days which you cannot shave. For Sefardim, hair can be cut up until the week of Tisha Bav. One thing that drives me crazy is people who want to act like they are frum, so they will shave or trim to make it look like they are following these laws. Who are they fooling? Either you shave completely (which I don't think Jews should do in general) or you don't shave. You don't go in between to try and fool people. Hashem knows what you are doing as well as everyone around you who can figure out that you are faking. Can someone please explain to me why people do this. Thanks

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Nine Days

There are many questions I have regarding the Halachos and customs for Ashkenazim during the nine days.
The first question I have is regarding showering. During the nine days one is supposed to refrain from bathing and showering because this is considered something relaxing. In the current times would it be acceptable in society if people found out you did not shower for 9 days? I am not sure what most people do in regards to this. I have heard two things where you can get around this Halacha. The first one is to only take cold showers. By taking a cold shower you are not enjoying it doing it only for hygiene. The second way around this is to build up a sweat (working out in a gym) so you would smell which would allow you to shower.
The second question I have is regarding Neginah and music. During the three week period beginning with the 17 of Tammuz and ending on the 10th of Av, one should not listen to music. I can understand this completely because we are supposed to be mourning and music can make someone happy. My question is regarding Shabbos and niggunim which are sung on Shabbos Chazon. It is the custom of many shuls to sing Lcha Dodi to the tune of Keli Tzion which is the last Kinna we recite in the morning of Tisha Bav. If we are supposed to be happy on Shabbos we should not remind ourselves of the nine day mourning period, correct? If so why is that niggun sung to Lcha Dodi? Last year I went to an Agudah minyan which I knew would not sing this niggun for Lcha Dodi. The question can then be asked, every Shabbos Chazon, the Haftorah is read in Eicha trup as well as the word Eicha which appears in the Parshah. I am not sure if every shul does this or only the ones I have been to. Where did these customs come from, and why are we allowed to be mourning on this Shabbos? Are these customs wrong or are they correct? With these questions in mind, I am not sure where to daven this year.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tehillim for Israel and the Sick

One thing that annoys me more than anything is that whenever I go to minyan at the end someone always has to start saying Shir Haamalos Mimamakim Karasicha Hashem. Why is this? The Rabbis set up a formula so you can say a few things of Tehillim every day and finish the whole book of Tehillim by the end of the month. How come at the end of Shacharis no one says these few chapters followed by their Mi Shebeirach or Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael? I would think that would be more appropriate. Before Barchu during the Aseres Ymei Teshuva that Shir Hamalos is supposed to be said. I think it has lost its meaning being said at that time since it is now recited a few times every day. I have even been in shuls on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur where they no longer say this. Is this the reason why? For the situation in Israel there are also designated perakim of Tehillim that could be said but everyone reverts back to the same Shir Hamalos. Can someone start a movement to change things to the way they are supposed to be? I know I walk out instead of saying the shire Hamalos because it has lost all meaning to me including during the Aseres Ymei Tshuva since I hear it way to many times. Maybe someone has some suggestions to help me. I hope that we can all say the proper Tehillim and daven to help our brothers and sisters during these tough times in the holy land

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

After I became more religious, I started to become involved with many Orthodox run organizations. The one question I have about orthodox organizations is why are they so disorganized? After being involved with Conservative and secular organizations become involved with orthodox ones was a complete shock. One example I would like to give is my experience with Youth Programs. When I was in High School I went on a Conservative program to Israel called USY Pilgrimage. I had a great time on this program. The staff was well informed of everything going on at all times, as well as programming always going according to schedule. I had a great time that summer as a camper and would highly recommend USY Pilgrimage to anyone who is affiliated with Conservative Judaism or would have no problem going on a Conservative program. A few years later, as a college student, I decided to staff a similar summer program which was in America. From day one this summer was a disaster. As a staff member, I was never informed of the schedule, there was no one to ask questions to and to top it off there was never enough food for the staff after all the campers took. On USY tours, during the year hotels are visited before they are booked for the summer programs to make sure they are in good locations and to make sure they are nice. On this orthodox program, the hotels were never checked beforehand, and the hotels were never near anyplace we needed to go. The most ridiculous part of this was that we zig-zagged across California instead of starting in the North and working our way south or vice versa. After this summer I compiled a letter detailing all the problems of the summer to bring to the head of this organization. Very little was done to solve these problems and as a result, I will not participate in any Orthodox run youth group because I don't want to be affiliated or responsible for what goes on. Another example I would like to give is the Orthodox Yeshiva. My wife was teaching at an Othodox Yeshiva and after the first few paychecks, there was a sign posted that the paychecks are going to be delayed. My question is why can they do this? Isn't it against halacha to withhold someone's paycheck? Before opening a Yeshiva shouldn't you be aware of the costs of running it? My wife has worked in a Conservative Shul and they never missed a paycheck. I have also worked for a Conservative Shul and never missed a paycheck. Do orthodox people not know what it means to be organized? One last example is when I bought my apartment, I used an Orthodox run Mortgage company, and the Banks lawyer showed up an hour late! I can go on and on about experiences I have has with Orthodox run groups but I am not going to do that since my intent is not to insult Orthodox people. I am just looking for an answer to why this goes on and how Rabbis allow this to go on.

Monday, July 10, 2006

When I was little, whenever I saw a male Orthodox Jew, they always had a large thing of keys attached to their belt. What were these keys for? Someone today suggested to me that maybe they are keys to a yeshiva or shul. If that is the case, why do they need to always have them attached to there belt?
This past Shabbos in shul I experienced a phenomenon that cannot be explained logically. Two people sitting next to me were talkers. I did not choose to sit next to them. These two people come to shul late and sit wherever there are seats still available. During the Torah reading, there was someone reading along with the Baal Koreh on the other side of me and apparently getting these two talkers upset so the decided to SHH him. If you are talking in shul to begin with, who decided that you can choose when people can make noise? What is one supposed to do in a situation like this?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Talking in Shul Part 2

Yesterday when i went to Mincha/Maariv in a certain shul, i started tto question why people go to begin with. The noise level was very high and it seemed like it was a social club. In the middle of Mincha, someone broght over a snapple to someone and they starting to drink it a pour it in cups for a few people. Is this apprpriate for mincha. How come the Rav of the shul who was there does not say anything? Why do people feel it is ok to behave this way in a shul during davening?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Talking In Shul

One of the things i never understood is why people talk in shul. If you go into a church or another religions place of worship, it is always silent. I was at the Mets Yankees game Sunday night and I met a person from the same neighborhood as me and he asked me what shul I attended. I gave him the name of the shul and told him it was a no talking shul and he said thats how it should be and started to laugh. If people know that you are not supposed to talk in shul, why do they continue to do so? I just don't get it. The whole reason why you go to shul is to daven. While i am on the subject of davening in shul the other thing that drives me crazy is seforim in shul. In the middle of recited krias shma, somone also has a sefer infront of him learning. Is it possible to learn and daven at the same time? If so i would like to know how. I sometimes feel that people do this so they can feel that they are more frum then you. I would like to hear what other people think about these topics and i would hope that i am not the only one who feels this way.
Frum With Questions

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Frum With Questoins Starts Now

After reading blogs for a while and because my wife has two, I decided to finally get into the blogging life by creating my own. The reason why this blog is called Frum With Questions is because that is who I am. Growing up in a non religious conservative household I grew up going to a conservative shul and going to their Hebrew school until my Bar Mitzvah. When I was in high school, I became active in USY and NCSY which led me and my parents to attend shul more often. Eventually towards the end of high school and when i went off the college, I became a complete Torah observant jew. Now that I have becaome a Torah observant Jew, I see many things that I question. Because I learned everything later in life, it is easy for me to learn and practice what I learn. After i learn things i see the overall people in the Torah Observant community do not follow these things. Because of this I have questions and that is what this blog is about.