Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Davening k'Vaskin Instead of k'Normal

When people discuss my davening schedule, the conversation is something like, "I know what you do, but normal people ..."  I don't mind; having grown up Jewish in a non-Jewish neighborhood (then non-Jewish in a Jewish shul :) ), I am used to the idea of people considering my not "normal".  However, I have noticed that everyone who davens k'vasikin gets contrasted to "normal" people.  We actually refer to those who daven k'vasikin on a daily basis as "regulars", whereas those who join us for whatever reason on an occasional basis are simply, "the others".  I wondered what "normal" people do, so I did a little research.  I here present my findings, first halachic then hashkafic.  To be as PC as possible, I'll refer to the two groups as "regulars" (our label for ourselves) and "normal" (the word the others use to refer to themselves).

The Shulchan Aruch, OC 156 says that a person should make his davening and torah learning the main thing, and then fit his parnassa activities around that.  During the winter, us regulars can be in davening as late 8:00 AM (or even a bit later on Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan).  I have had to tell my coworkers not to schedule meetings before 9:30AM in the winter if they want me there.  Us regulars do not start davening early to finish by a certain time.  Normal people can choose an earlier minyan when they want to get going early; so I guess they have other ways of making their plans secondary to HaShem's.

Regulars never have to worry about putting on tallis and t'fillin during the middle of davening.  Nor do we have to worry about saying k'rias sh'ma too early; we always say k'rias sh'ma about four minutes before sunrise.  So I guess normal people have more worries.

OC 231 says that one should make all his actions l'sheim shamayim.  During the winter we daven when normal people are going off to work, but during the summer we are davening when normal people are sleeping; especially on Shabbos.  I think it is part of HaShem's Sense of Humor to make sunset later just when sunrise is getting earlier.  We are not getting up so early because it is convenient, but because HaShem says that's the best time to daven.

OC 5 says that brachos should be said with kavana.  The Mishna Brura explains that brachos should not just be said out of habit.  We change the time of davening almost every day (and always by a different amount), which keeps us off balance just enough that it's never habitual.  Normal people daven the same time every weekday and the same time every Shabbos.  So I guess normal people have to find other ways to keep themselves from falling into habit patterns.

Finally, I have noticed that normal people tend to go to shuls where everyone wears the same kind of hat that they do.  Black hats here, kipa s'ruga here, velvet yarmulkas without hats here, etc.  Us regulars have all sorts of hats.  Us regulars wear all sorts of hats and come from all sorts of hashkafos.  There is only one point on which there is unanimous agreement among us regulars: davening is important.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Hydroponically Grown Humans... I Feel Sick

I am quite openly not at all objective about abortion in particular and the treatment of human embryos and fetuses in general.  I am, after all, the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  Not "thought about it, but couldn't go through with it"; not "made appointment, but then chickened out at the lost moment"; but, "tried a procedure, but was unsuccessful in attempt to abort".  Nonetheless, I try very hard to listen to the liberal arguments (which I also used to chant as part of the general liberal catechism), and am genuinely empathetic to the plight of women who find themselves in that difficult position.

What I heard on NPR this morning, however, has left me feeling physically ill.  You can read about it, if you like, but here's the bottom line:  Scientists in Cambridge have achieved a new record, they fertilized a human ova and then kept it alive in vitro (that is, in a test tube/petri dish in a laboratory) for 14 days.  The scientist involve…