The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Freakiness-Lateness Connection

I have observed that there is a freakiness - lateness connection when it comes to shuls. The freakier the shul, the more likely that its congregants will be late to shul.

I'm not talking 5 minutes late. I'm talking seriously late. Like completely missing mincha on Friday evening and coming during Lecha Dodi during Kabbolas Shabbos. Or showing up during Shemonah Esrei for Shacharis (or later) on Shabbos morning.

(There are exceptions. My own shul, which is right up there when it comes to freakiness, is one such exception. I think it's because the Moreh D'asrah stresses the importance of tefillah to such a degree that it even sinks in with the weirdos.)

This is also different from MO shuls where many people are also routinely very late. In MO shuls, it's because for such people, going to shul is a social obligation and has little to do with actually davening. I'm not sure why it's the case in freaky shuls. maybe it's because it takes a lot of time to dress in the costumes that many of them wear.

I'm not sure. Can anyone offer some insights?



  • At 1:10 PM, Anonymous J said…

    Because people don't like davening, and only come to shul out of social obligation?

  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger uberimma said…

    Probably because freaky shuls are more tolerant places generally, and less likely to give dirty looks.

    My husband davens in a shtiebel populated by some pretty interesting characters. He is also one of the most chronically late people I have ever met. (BTW, don't assume that people who are chronically late think tefilla is unimportant. After a couple of years of marriage and much hair-tearing I realized that there are some people who simply lack any kind of internal chronometer.)

  • At 1:48 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    I think that the people I'm refering to DO like davening, but only in theory. I don't think they are able to process the connection between the importance of davening and the need to actually be there.


    I don't necessarily agree with your first point. I think that the weirdos would come to shul late no matter where they were. But I do agree that there are those without any internal clocks.

  • At 2:08 PM, Blogger Fern said…

    In MO shuls, it's because for such people, going to shul is a social obligation and has little to do with actually davening.

    That's not very nice...Although I haven't been to enough MO shuls to know if it's true.

  • At 2:54 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    Who says I'm nice? I am for accuracy, not necessarily niceness. And I did say SOME of the people. By no means am I casting aspersions on most of the people who attend MO shuls.

  • At 3:03 PM, Anonymous aJewintheayalonvalley said…

    I very much enjoyed your interesting observation regarding the "freakiness – lateness connection" and wanted to share the following thought.

    To over generalize, people fit into one of two personality types, the concrete and the abstract. The concrete personality is the doer, the man who places supreme value on the world of action and knows how to get the job done. "Just do it". This man is usually described as having "two feet on the ground" because his realism, rooted in his concrete outlook, enables him to see what action has to be done and he does it successfully. Because of concrete man's emphasis on the world of action he usually scoffs at abstract man, viewing him as an unrealistic, irrelevant, loser.

    The second personality type views the world from an abstract perspective, placing much more weight on words, meaning, emotions and the spirit. This outlook tends to belittle what it calls the pettiness, small mindedness and superficiality of the world of action. In addition, not only does abstract man belittle action, he is prone to reject any trace of specific units, measurements, including those in the form of time. These men want to let their spirits soar, free from the shackles of time and space. (Hence they are often labeled as "freaks" by people who have the importance of action built into their worldview.)

    Perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of Halacha is the synthesis of these two opposite forces within us, bringing about complete harmony between our abstract souls and the concrete physical world that we live in. The angels feel that Torah is too abstract to be brought "down to earth". Physically oriented man sees this world as an action-defined world and therefore finds philosophy, poetry and song to be irrelevant "fluff". The Jew knows the secret of bringing about unity between the two.

    May the abstract freaks and the concrete doers be zocheh to learn from each other and maximize the potential given to us, in this case allowing for a concrete, effective, punctual, soal soaring, beyond this world tfilla. Na'aseh V'nishma amru k'echad.

  • At 8:14 PM, Blogger uberimma said…

    That's not what I meant. I didn't mean that people are late because it's tolerated, but that people who are late tend to gravitate toward places where it is better to show up late than not at all.

  • At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mo...your shul is M.O.

  • At 1:27 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    "Mo, your shul is MO"

    No, my shul is populated by many diverse people including many right-leaning MOs (myself included). The Rav is Chassidic and the hashkafa is far from MO.

    The overwhelming majority of the population, particularly the younger population, sends their kids to more chareidi schools, not any of the MO schools in the neighborhood.

    And, in any event, the overwhelming majority of people come on time. There are less than a handful of people who consistently come very late.

  • At 2:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You're a right-wing member of the modern Orthodox community, eh. Would you please enlighten those of us in the left-leaning modern Orthodox community - we could never reach your madrega of piety -as to what separates you from us.

    From what I've read on this blog, you send your children to modern Orthodox yeshivas, the"mother ship" attracts every kind of modern Orthodox boy, your children attend college, you live in a modern Orthodox community, you post on the internet etc...

    Wake up buddy, you're no different from the rest of us.

    If I were you, I'd consider doing some serious teshuva during the Bein Hametzarim.

  • At 2:45 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…


    Thanks, but I don't need to be woken up. I am very well aware of what I am and I have never professed to have any madreiga of piety. If you feel otherwise, please point me to the posts in which I have declared a higher level of piety. I have also never professed to be better or separate from "the rest of us". Show me where I said I was. Finally, I have certainly never stated that I wasn't MO. (What do you think the MO in MoChassid stands for...duh?)

    You made a statement that my shul was MO. My point in response was that that statement was overly simplistic. My shul is certainly not mainstream MO. (I am without a doubt among the most left wing members).

    And, finally, while I do teshuva during bein hametsarim, I suggest you search for a sense of humor and some self esteem; you seem very defensive and clearly lack a funny bone.

  • At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Talk about defensive, try looking into the mirror.

    Who said anything about you not claiming to be modern orthodox. My point - really it was my question -had to do with the right-wing moden Orthodox label you proudly proclaimed for yourself. Please enlighten me. What is the difference between a right-wing and left-wing modern Orthodox Jew. Inquiring minds want to know.

  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    I don't have time for silly questions.

  • At 3:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Like I thought, you're a blowhard.

    By the way, if you want to generate some laughs before the 17th of Tammuz, try telling someone in Borough Park or Monsey that you're partly chassidic.

  • At 4:08 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    You are taking yourself way too seriously. Really. Lighten up my friend. Life's too short.

  • At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I often walk into shul friday night after mincha. I tend to daven at an early mincha which makes it easier for me not to kill myself and family members to get out of the way and get going in order to arrive in shul on time.I dont think theres a halachik issue with it, just a mussat issue of not being in shul when shul starts, but i daven everything that needs to be said b'tzibbur with a ztibbur.The friday night thing isnt a good example, but otherwise a great post.Brad


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