MOChassid

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

Monday, April 06, 2009

Birchas HaChamah and the WQ

This Wednesday morning, our shul, like many others, will be hosting a Vasikin minyan following which there will be a short siyum for the bechorim and a collective trek to a nearby harbor where the chevrah will say Birchas haChamah together.

I have much to say on this on many levels.

First, this is more or less how I feel about the whole Birchas HaChamah spectacle. While I do fargin the oilam their expression of their sense of community, I don't really get all the fuss. As Ben Chorin suggests, this celebration reflects a consumer society with too much time on its hands. I've refused to buy any of the fifteen books that have been published (or even to read the articles in Mishpacha and oher magazines) because I have a hard enough time setting aside time to review the Haggadah and I don't have time for distractions. But, whatever.

The immediate issue I am struggling with is whether to join my kehilah at the "show" or just daven early (as I always do) and say the bracha on my own, with no fanfare. On the one hand, it is my kehilah and my Rebbe so I feel a certain attachment. On the other, there is no telling what manner of weirdo this is likely to attract. Anyone with a car and the will to get up early can come and, like all other non-Shabbos related events (especially those that are free) hosted by the shul, likely will. (Mitigating against a big turnout is the fact that, in my experience, there is a very high freakiness-lateness correlation so I question whether the real high-WQ chevrah will make it to a vasikin minyan).

I guess it comes down to this: Do I want to join the kehilah for the potential entertainment value or do I want a moment of personal introspection where I can think about the cycle of Jewish life, the flow of the years, the abundant brachas that G-d has granted me and my family and contemplate whether I will be zoche to be around for the next Birchas Hachamah (when I would be 82)? Don't expect to see me there.

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21 Comments:

  • At 9:44 AM, Blogger kingjimmy9 said…

    Well put.

     
  • At 10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Weather rreport tsays will be cloudy/rainy.

     
  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger nyfunnyman said…

    there really is a din of "rov am" you should also think about. and why is siyum first?

     
  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    NYF

    I think most shuls are doing the siyum first and then going on the road trip. As far as rov am, I could go with my usual minyan and have a much reduced WQ.

     
  • At 10:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You could go to the Vasikin at the YIW where there shouldn't be any WQ issues!

     
  • At 10:37 AM, Blogger ThePeoplesChamp said…

    MoC,

    You miss the point. We all know what type of WQ a full moon brings, can you imagine the WQ that the 28 year solar cycle coming full circle can bring? This is WQ on HGH. This can take WQ factors to all time highs and as the person responsible for the term "WQ" I think it is not only right for you to go, but it is your responsibility and duty to be there (plus, it'll give material for the next 28 years....)

     
  • At 10:39 AM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    TPC

    You have a point.

     
  • At 10:45 AM, Blogger tnspr569 said…

    Your theory about lateness and weirdness is frighteningly accurate, MoC. Yet another motivating factor to get up on time, at least for some of us.

     
  • At 11:53 AM, Blogger Ezzie said…

    MoC - This is why it's much better to print out a free e-book (see Gil). :)

    I'll be in Cleveland. On the off chance that there's actually a sun to see, I'll probably go outside, say Oseh Ma'aseh B'reishis, and go eat something.

     
  • At 12:47 PM, Blogger Gil Student said…

    I see the show as being for the kids. My shul is just having its regular minyan and then everyone goes outside to say it and comes back in for the siyum (which I skip, as a second child with a firstborn daughter). But afterwards, there is a big to-do in the local park which is for the kids (and the adults who like this sort of thing).

     
  • At 12:51 PM, Blogger Honestly Frum said…

    I agree with Gil, I think it would be good for the kids. In Teaneck they are having a community wide gathering. It should be nice for the kids to see the whole community gatherd for a reason other than saying tehillim for EY or a protest. This time it's a "good" gathering.

     
  • At 12:56 PM, Blogger Cyberdov said…

    I would like to see some parameters of 'berov am'. IIRC, this has to do with tefilla? I don't see why it should apply to this type of beracha. Do we see shuls hving gatherings to make a beracha on the first blossoms of spring, which also rate a beracha? trips to see the ocean? Really, I agree with MoC - better off preparing for a seder. Let the kids see you do that (and help as well).

     
  • At 1:20 PM, Blogger Still Wonderin' said…

    Re: the Aish Kodesh sun worship outing.

    Perhaps I'm overly self-conscious, but for some reason my biggest concern is the chillul Hashem caused by a 90-car convoy waking residents and befuddling joggers along Woodmere BLVD at 6:45 a.m. (it can get even worse if people decide to walk).

    Worse will be the 20-minutes of uncomfortable singing and dancing on a public pier, leaving those who aren't hip to the sun scene (but are hip to the pier's refreshing, early-morning air -- giving thanks that the custom is observed only once every 28 years.

     
  • At 2:15 PM, Blogger YD said…

    I'm planning on making a Asher Yatzar celebration next time I go to the bathroom. Anyone interested in attending?

     
  • At 3:41 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    SW

    Very good point. I'm totally with you on your point and also concerned about that.

     
  • At 4:25 PM, Blogger Honestly Frum said…

    Between the birchas ha chamah and burning chametz on the same day I am sure our neighbors are going to be loving us for quite a while to come.

     
  • At 5:30 PM, Blogger MoChassid said…

    HF

    The burning of the chametz in my town is actually an example of good community relations. The volunteer fire department sets up an area in its parking lot where you can come to burn your chametz. For its troubles many people contribute a few bucks to the firwe department.

     
  • At 6:31 PM, Anonymous MD said…

    I live in a city in Eretz Yisroel that is planning a huge centralized Birchas HaChama. Supposedly, they are expecting 20,000 people. There is going to be a massive effort to bus all of these people to the central area within a half an hour of the end of the Neitz Minyans. Our Rav decided that it did not make sense for most people to go through all of that time and trouble on Erev Pesach, so he said that we would be having our own Birchas HaChama ceremony at a park some three minute's walk from our shul. This will be a much more modest ceremony, but the Rav did see the importance of saying the Bracha B'Rov Am and even encouraged women and children to try to participate.
    Everything needs to be taken in perspective. It is true that the Bracha is not that different than Birchas HaIlanos or even Asher Yatzer, but we're still talking about an occasion that will come up only 3 or 4 times in a person's lifetime. The idea of saying this Bracha B'Rov Am is well established. We should all be able to find the appropriate balance of Rov Am, Kavana, and conciousness of Erev Pesach that works for us.
    By the way, I heard directly from Rav Avigdor Nebenzhal, Rav of the Old City, that reciting the Bracha of Birchas HaChama 5 times is a proven Segula for Arichas Yamim.

     
  • At 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    freaks are rch'l usually depressed and that prevents early wake up. The risk is that they will stay up all night and campout in front of your shul and play bongo's.
    The WQ rests at the doorstep of one place and that's Breslov. No offense to anyone but it encourages freakdom.Any philosophy that encourages late night screeming in the forest and "having " a Rebbe who has been dead for close to 200 years is rocking the WQ.

     
  • At 11:31 PM, Blogger tnspr569 said…

    Why on earth are so many shuls having a siyum BEFORE birkas hachama? Makes absolutely NO sense...holding up people for no reason...

     
  • At 7:54 AM, Blogger David said…

    Your blogging must have scared them away. The WQ was fairly low, IMHO. Or maybe it was the early hour. Either way, you missed a nice (cold) time.

     

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