Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Unrealistic Expectations?

Big Bro #2 and I were talking on Shabbos when he mentioned a conversation that took place in shul. "During davening? I never talk in shul," I said, perhaps expressing disbelief in the fact that my very own big bro would have the audacity to talk in shul.

"Well, if you were there every day, you would be talking, too," he replied. This exchange reminded me of a conversation I'd had with some friends a while back, regarding expectations when it comes to husbands.

While they thought missing minyan once in a while was inexcusable, I wanted to agree with them whole-heartedly, but I found it difficult. They even backed it up with anecdotal evidence of guys who will do all but put their lives on the line to attend a minyan.

Granted, davening with a minyan is not my mitzvah. So perhaps it could be easy to demand that of someone else.

"It's their mitzvah, they better be darn sure to make their way to shul every day, three times a day!" One friend said. I repeat. I wanted to agree with her.

But I thought about it honestly. If it were my mitzvah, would I be there on time every day knowing that I have to be at work at 9? Would I jump out of my office on a rainy day to run into another building for a minyan in Manhattan? Or would I just daven b'yechidus?

If I were there three times a day every day since age 13, would I treat it with the same reverence I do the few times I go to shul annually? Can I guarantee that I wouldn't consider shul a drudgery at a certain point? Nobody knows for sure.

If that's the case, do I have a right to demand more from a potential spouse?

22 Comments:

At 5/12/2009 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a practical eitzah for you. There are those authorities who say that a woman should daven two times a day unless she is busy caring for children. Why don't you take on this mitzvah for 6 months and then revisit the issue? If nothing else motivates you, do it for the first-hand journalistic experience.

 
At 5/12/2009 11:35 AM, Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Yeah, I echo Anonymous; there's no halachic excuse not to be a "feminist" in these issues, I don't know why but it seems the more "yeshivish" Jews are, the more they feel girls are excused from halacha. Girls (just as guys) must 1) Pray at least once, but better twice a day, and 2) know all the halachot that pertain to them, which are quite many (just getting the halakhot of brachot and basar v'chalav down straight can take a very long time).

But also, being someone who struggles with praying with a minyan myself, I would say that in general it's not the best idea to start nit-picking with your spouses religious observance, unless they are unquestionably negligent, and show a certain level of disinterest.

[For the record though, there are authorities that felt that praying with a miyan isn't a total necessity (making sure a miynan gets formed if it's partly up to you is another story).]

 
At 5/12/2009 2:12 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I generally daven twice a day, but, obviously, not with a minyan.

I don't know why the post gave any other impression, but yes, I daven twice a day on most days.

 
At 5/12/2009 4:00 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

If he expects you to dress tzniusly everday, why shouldn't you expect him to daven everyday?

 
At 5/13/2009 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It's their mitzvah, they better be darn sure to make their way to shul every day, three times a day!"
And they wonder why there's a shidduch crisis. What guy is going to want a girl who's that bossy? It's none of their business whether the guy goes to minyan.

Ichabod Chrain

 
At 5/18/2009 11:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope your friends are that shtakr in their beliefs when it comes to traveling somewhere. Many beautiful spots have no or very limited minyanim.

Even within the US for a day trip with the family, sometimes it is difficult to make minyan.

If they are going to be rigid - exceptions should not be made because it suits that particular time.

 
At 5/18/2009 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for understanding. Waking up for minyan is not always so easy. I used to be much better at it but have gotten worse recently. I agree with that guy with the Hebrew screen name who wrote that it depends on the guy's attitude toward the whole issue.

In other words, does he want to? Does he try? Does he feel guilty? How does he treat going to shul for maariv when he is wide awake? Etc.

 
At 5/18/2009 1:30 PM, OpenID josh0 said...

I just listened to a discussion on gender roles in prayer by R. Gurkow. Enjoy.

His hour long talk overlaps this discussion quite a bit from requirements to find a minyan to when you can leave one early, and for all topic, why.

 
At 5/20/2009 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

for gods sake, minyan is hardly a requirement!
the poor guy is working all day, learns in the morning/evening, takes care of house stuff. let him be if he misses minyan!

 
At 5/21/2009 4:55 PM, Anonymous Lazlo said...

A very thoughtful post that reveals a sensitive, introspective and caring soul.

One thing women tend to overlook is the fact that Minyan is more essential and necessary to us guys. Davening b'yichidus would be disastorous as a long-term plan; on a communal and individual level. Yes, constant and vigalante minayn attendence can require Herculean efforts to some and comes second nature to others. It varies based on the Chochos Hanefesh and the personality.

Additionaly, Minyan attendance creates an atmosphere of kedusha in the house, as 'going to shul' is a focal point in the couples life. It generates respect, responsiblity and dedication, all positive and essential elements of a healthy and productive marriage.

Food for thought: Do you perfrom your (female) mitzvos religiously?

There is nothing more impressive than a single man who works in the city as an actuary, to rise out of bed early in the morning in order to daven with a minyan. Don't underestimate the importance of attending even one Minyan. Let's not have and all or nothing attitude. Every Tefila B'Tzibur is a diamond and a treasure

 
At 5/22/2009 10:49 AM, Anonymous Rocco said...

Just a thought: Any girl that demands a guy who vigilantly davens with a minyan should be the type of girl who deserves such a stringent about observing mitzvos be the type of girl who facilitates such a thing. Don’t be a hypocrite so the guy has to fear coming home from shacharis late & finding you in the bed with a shvartza (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

 
At 5/22/2009 11:42 AM, Anonymous Norman Green said...

"when he mentioned a conversation that took place in shul. "During davening? I never talk in shul," "

He said 'in shul'. How do you know that it was in middle of the services? Are you implying that one should refrain from talking casually, always, in a shul? That would relate to respect for the place of prayer and is immaterial to the actual prayer issue you adressed

"regarding expectations when it comes to husbands."

You had an expectation that your husband would never talk in shul?

"While they thought missing minyan once in a while was inexcusable, I wanted to agree with them whole-heartedly, but I found it difficult. They even backed it up with anecdotal evidence of guys who will do all but put their lives on the line to attend a minyan."

You were discussing the concept of whether objectively it was excusable or not. Why is the anectodal evidence regarding subjective beleifs or certain individuals relevant?

"Granted, davening with a minyan is not my mitzvah. So perhaps it could be easy to demand that of someone else."

To the contrary. If it was your Mitzvah, and you had to push yourself out of bed daily, you, arguably, surely wouldn't commiserate with the late risers.

"But I thought about it honestly. If it were my mitzvah, would I be there on time every day knowing that I have to be at work at 9"

You are obfuscating the issues. You explain your understanding for lack of attendence by demonstrating tolerance for mere lack of punctuality. That is typical all or nothing/black and white, charedi thinking. Additionaly, someone who conflates punctuality with attendance is not very convincing when they display their ostensable tolerance for those who are lax in their attendance.

"I wanted to agree with her."
I repeat: a strong part of you still agrees with her

"Or would I just daven b'yechidus?"

If you pray by yourself, you wouldn't talk in middle of the services. Would you?

"If I were there three times a day every day since age 13"

You don't believe in pre-Bar Mitzvah attendance? You expect a youngster to change dramatically the day he turns thirteen!!!

"Can I guarantee that I wouldn't consider shul a drudgery at a certain point?"

You can think it is a drudgery and still refrain from acting disrespectfully via talking. Read something or use the time for intropsection. You are going to have to come up with better to rationalize your big brother's egregious behaviour.

 
At 5/22/2009 12:14 PM, Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Yo Norman man, you sound pretty cool, you should make a blog or something!

 
At 5/26/2009 1:28 PM, Blogger smoo said...

I respect the fact that you tried to realistically envision yourself in someone else's shoes. That level of cognizance breeds sympathy and compassion rather than blind judgment and condemnation.

How a person practices and expresses their religion is an individual choice. Before and during marriage the couple should share their expectations and values. If they are not on the same page, discussion, exchanging rationals, and finally compromise are in order. When one party becomes the policeman, the other will end up resenting. NO ONE likes a NAG.

 
At 5/28/2009 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://matzav.com/exclusive-shidduch-list-with-over-150-names-of-bochurim-creates-firestorm/

comments please?

 
At 6/01/2009 2:54 PM, Blogger Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

You make a good point. But I guess we still like to wish for what we view as ideal. So long as the guy really wants to go to minyan and thinks its the right thing, then that's what counts.

Michelle: That's very good of you to daven twice a day. I actually wrote a post about davening, (how I find it hard).

My father is actually very strict about davening with a minyan, and he tries to get my brothers to daven with a minyan, and he makes it sound so bad when they don't daven with a minyan that it makes me question sometimes what's so important about a minyan.

 
At 6/02/2009 1:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

New yeshivishe blog at

briskyeshivish.blogspot

 
At 7/02/2009 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a loyal and committed Jew in every way -- except I really, really HATE shul and have hardly attended one outside of Shabbos in over 5 years. While I feel guilty sometimes, I've just come to accept myself for what I am, faults and all.

 
At 7/02/2009 10:27 PM, Blogger הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Yeah, I was staying with Chasidim in "the mountains" one summer, and I felt I had faaar more kavana praying alone in the woods than in a room stuffed to the brim with Chasidim who wouldn't know what real prayer was if it bit their head off..

 
At 10/10/2009 4:27 PM, Blogger chanie said...

I met a girl who stayed in bed till twelve and then started davening at one. I asked her if she would be okay with her husband doing the same thing.

She said, "If he's on vacation, why not? But not every day." So I asked if he's taking a vacation from work or from G-d. "From work, of course." So then, pray tell, is it ok for him to take a vacation from G-d as well? But then again, she doesn't deserve the type of guy who's makpid on zmanim.

Me, I admit ashamedly to waking up late sometimes...but I hate doing it and try my best to be up and davening b'zman. So, obviously, though I'd hate for my husband to miss minyan, I obviously would not have married someone who missed it daily- or didn't think that getting up was important. Like marries like...unless one is a hypocrite.

 
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