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

Monday, April 18, 2005

Midos Tovos

Stillwonderin' sarcastically comments that the Shiny Shoe Drummer who wouldn't allow Chaim Dovid's drummer to move a cymbal was too busy learning to be bothered with stuff like midos tovos (loosely, good manners) or ahavas Yisrael (love of fellow Jews).

His comment hit home because of something that happened this past motsai Shabbos. My Rebbe gave his pre-Shabbos Hagadol drasha at our shul. In the past we hosted the drasha on Shabbos afternoon at a local gym in order to accommodate the crowd, often exceeding 800 people. For the past year, we haven't been able to get the use of the gym so we moved the drasha back to our building and scheduled it for motsai Shabbos. This way we can have 450 people in the main shul and pipe the drasha into the social hall and bais medrash through a live video feed where another 300 people can see the drasha.

Here's the issue. The drasha started at 10 p.m. By 9:20 many bachurim and young ladies started to arrive. By 9:45 there was hardly a seat left in the main shul. I would estimate that 65% or more of the seats were taken by non-members, mostly bachurim and post-seminary women. Many members could not get seats in the main shul and had to go downstairs to the social hall to see the video feed (which, BTW, was excellent).

Only one bachur asked me if it would be more appropriate for him to sit downstairs. One.

I don't equate this with the disgusting behavior of Shiny Shoe Drummer. The bachurim and young women were very excited about coming to the shiur and I try to dan l'kaf zechus (judge favorably) on this basis. Nevertheless, it seems to me that something is missing in their chinuch if they can be comfortable sitting in seats that would otherwise be occupied by older, paying members.


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