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

Monday, June 04, 2007

Klutz Kashas

I have been attending a morning halacha shiur for the past seven years. For the first five years we studied Choshen Mishpat (mostly commerce related laws) b'iyun. Since then, we have been studying Rambam's Sefer Hamitvos in order. After almost two years we are up to number ten, Krias Shemah.

It is important to note that I said this was a halacha shiur, not a machshavah shiur. My Rebbe also gives plenty of those.

Nevertheless, this has not stopped a few of the chevra from continuously asking machshava-based questions. The questioners are almost all ba'alei teshuvah and the questions are almost all halacha-related issues that they are having trouble processing personally. It has gotten much worse since we left Choshen Mishpat for Mitzvos Hamelech, especially since the first few mitvos are very machshava'ish to begin with (Yichud Hashem, Kiddush Hashem, Yiras Hashem, Ahavas Hashem, Krias Shema, etc.)

It is not hard to figure out why these questions come almost exclusively from ba'alei teshuvah (of course there are a number of ba'aleu teshuvah in the shiur that don't ask these questions). Ba'alei teshuvah tend to think much more about things while FFBs just take things for granted. We aren't thinking about the "whys" of halacha so much as we are thinking of the "hows". In other words, FFBs think, how do we reach this halachic conclusion rather than why is this so?

Of course, as you can imagine, given my great amount of ahavas Yisrael and abundance of patience, these questions drive me batty. Often, I want to tear my hair out (but, sadly, this is no longer possible). The good news is that my Rebbe is very adept at handling these questions and bringing the shiur back to where it's supposed to be. (My Rebbe is also happy to discuss these hashkafic questions privately and at length).

I often wonder whether I would be better off being like one of the guys who comes to shiur who has been sleeping through it every single day (I do not exaggerate) for seven years.



  • At 12:34 PM, Blogger ClooJew said…

    I go to a halachah shiur given by one of the poskei hador, and my problem, lulei demistafina, is that the klutz kashes (coming almost exclusively from the same person) are not "why" questions but "what if" questions.

    As if he is going to figure out every possible way to apply this halachah to his life, real and imagined.

    And it slows the shiur down to a Midtown-Manhattan-during-rush hour crawl.

  • At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I too go to a shiur for two years and we have not one but two klutz kashaers but one in particular is the king if what ifs. he doesnt even open the sefer just takes notes. And to top it off he gets mad when we try to cut him off. the rebbis is a better man than i with great savlanoot


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