Saturday, March 22, 2008

I hate selfish little you-know-whats

A while after I wrote my previous post, I headed out to shul to hear Megillah.

While we were still in Perek Aleph, a child, who must have been about 2, and is probably pretty cute ANY TIME BUT NOW started babbling. Audibly. I expected to hear some shuffling as the mother dutifully lifts her child out of the chair and leaves the room. But I didn't. There was more babbling.

As far as I know, if you miss one word, you have to hear it again. In high school, a teacher told us that one year she had to hear it 5 times to be yotzeh. Well, I wasn't gonna have that.

Then the kid started to shake the grager--you guessed it--NOT when the Baal Koreh said "Haman." Between that and the babbling, I tried harder and harder to focus, and started to read along, whispering the words in case I missed something. (My brother later informed me that that was incorrect as well.)

I was pissed. I was pissed-er than pissed. There was steam coming out of my ears. I was FURIOUS!!

This selfish little you-know-what was gonna let her child and her own convenience trump everyone else's obligation/Mitzvah? People are depending on others not to disrupt the reading.

If any other women were disrupted because of her child, it should be HER fault. She should have to go hear it 10 more times. She should have left. She didn't.

She could have hired someone. She could have sent her husband now, and gone later.

There was no reason for her to disrupt everyone else. I saw other people turning around trying to figure out who it was.

All she was thinking was, "well, if I leave now, I might have to come back later, or go to another shul. So what if my little Moishele/Leah'le makes his/her adorable little noises? At least I heard Megillah, and everyone got to see him/her in her ADORABLE costume."

Like I said, it was so crowded, I couldn't detect who it was, but that's a good thing. Considering the choice words I had for her, the Ona'as Devarim probably would have been worse than not hearing every word of Megillah.


At 3/23/2008 1:10 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

"I tried harder and harder to focus, and started to read along, whispering the words in case I missed something. (My brother later informed me that that was incorrect as well.)"

Only if you were reading out of an invalid megillah. Otherwise the SA says that whispering along in case you miss something is perfectly acceptable.

In general though, I think people get rather anal about the "every word" bit. Purim, more than any other holiday, is really for the kids.

At 3/23/2008 4:24 AM, Anonymous big bro said...

Aside from the idea that is d'rabonon, it may never have happened.

At 3/23/2008 9:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

even if you read out of an invalid megiallah you are alright as long as u only read 49% of the megillah from the invalid one and hear 51% from the kosher one

At 3/23/2008 11:01 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

What's considered an invalid megillah? Obviously I didn't have a scroll in front of me...
I hope I did okay.

At 3/23/2008 1:22 PM, Anonymous yomtova said...

I totally agree -- noisy kids = leave the room.

And what about the kids playing loudly in the hallway, when the door is open so more women can cram into the room? No one shushed them, either.

I've even left shul because my kid was coughing (allergies) on Purim! So I went back for another reading, but at least everyone else could hear.

At 3/23/2008 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kosher megillahs are the ones written on parchment with the lettering of the sefer torah

they are made by jewish scribes like tefillin mezuzos sefer torah

At 3/23/2008 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding the comments by orthoprax and bigbro, the fact that Megilla is derabonon doesnt make a difference. We still have an obligation to hear it.

If you're going to start to say its not as important then it undermines the whole concept of metzvos being derabanan

Michelle I agree with you 100% Its downright rude to allow kids to make noise during the Megila reading. I'm all for kids being in shul but not if its at the expense of Tefilla/laining


At 3/23/2008 6:35 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...


"Regarding the comments by orthoprax and bigbro, the fact that Megilla is derabonon doesnt make a difference. We still have an obligation to hear it.
If you're going to start to say its not as important then it undermines the whole concept of metzvos being derabanan"

And? I don't think the importance of various mitzvot are dependent on their sources, I just think people sometimes get way too anal about the particulars and ruin great customs by living out of a book.

Overstructured ritual saps the vibrancy from living customs.

At 3/23/2008 9:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey, micelle: why didn't you just say "shhhhhhhhhhhhh" really loudly? sure you didn't know who the offending party was, but instead of being all polite you should've done something. of course people should try to be polite but when you're beinf negatively effected, you should raise a stink.IYHBYYOU

At 3/23/2008 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, how do you know what was going through that mother's head? You can't say what she was thinking or why she didn't remove her child from the situation. Maybe she was not as well educated as you are and didn't know that it was a problem. If you felt it was such a problem maybe you should have saved yourself the trouble and gotten up and gone to a different minyan, i mean since you were afraid you werent yotzei.
Also, maybe until you are a mother you shouldnt be so judgemental of mothers. Wait until you have a child! You will see how easy decisions are lol!

At 3/24/2008 9:09 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

IYHBYYOU- If I'd yell shush, i'd make people miss words.

Perhaps, ideally, I should have left.

At 3/24/2008 9:10 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

And, also, anon, I know having kids is not easy.
When I have kids IY"H, I will either stay home with them and attend a later minyan, or perhaps ask my husband to watch them while I go, or hire someone for an hour to babysit, or if absolutely necessary, skip it altogether. Better that ONE person miss it than many others miss the mitzvah because my children's noise.

At 3/24/2008 9:11 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

And, if I do bring them, and they make noise, I will IYH Bli Neder, LEAVE.

At 3/24/2008 5:34 PM, Anonymous sil said...

No need to skip it altogether-- borrow a megillah and read it to yourself!

At 3/25/2008 7:33 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

sil-that's a thought. But what about the rest of what I said? Agree?

At 3/25/2008 10:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon- you are completely wrong (should i have said that more diplomatically?)regardless of whether or not you know the halachot of megillah or anything that happens in shul you know that a certain decorum must be maintained in shul. after all, EVERYONE knows that one should be silent in shul. it's not a hard decision to make. if your child is being loud and disruptive, or at least irritating to others, LEAVE THE SHUL; it's a no brainer really, not a lot of factors to consider. and michelle, you shouldnt have left the shul you should have very nicely informed the offending mother of her rude behaviour. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! PEOPLE SHOULD JUST godd*** respect and be considerate of others. IYHBYYOU (yes, i am ticked off!!)

At 3/27/2008 3:17 PM, Anonymous sil said...

I am all for parents being considerate to others, and as a mother this is a real value to me, which why I have always felt like you about megillah.

Yet, this year I read an interesting halacha in the Mishna Berura, who states that there is an inyan to bring small kids to shul to hear the megillah. So perhaps instead of looking at these women as inconsiderate we can look at them as machmir.

At 3/28/2008 6:05 AM, Blogger MS said...

Sil--If you want to hold according to the mishnah breruah, take your kids to a special "kids" laining. There's one in the middle of the day on purim for parents to bring their children (and stay to supervise of course) although most of the mothers have already heard the megillah at a separate women's laining.

At 3/28/2008 12:47 PM, Anonymous sil said...

I don't want to hold according to the MB, and I don't in a lot of areas.

But we don't have a kids leining where I live, so if I wanted to it wouldn't be an option. Michelle-- is there one in your shul?

At 3/29/2008 8:30 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

sil- not as far as i know.

At 3/31/2008 5:17 PM, Anonymous Sarah said...

I always find these kinds of posts interesting ... you're yelling and screaming about what this apparently horrible woman did, but you never stop to be dan l'caf zchut. IMHO we should try to be a little more machmir on ben adam l'chavero even if it means being a bit meikil on mizvot like these ... and if you try to tell me that she should have had some ben adam l'chavero and left, all I have to say is that you can't change someone else's actions, only your own.

At 3/31/2008 7:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah, i totally agree with you!!!

At 3/31/2008 9:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I don't understand about hearing every word, is this. Let's say you're in shul and you hear the megillah and maybe miss a word or two, but you read the word you missed. You still aware of the word. Why do you need to hear it if you read it during the reading of the megillah? Is the requirement of hearing every word a relic of the days before they had printing pressess?

Ichabod Chrain


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