Jul 11, 2014
This Shabbos, Avoid the Choir

From the COLlive inbox: A faux custom to chant a single word from this week's Parshah should not be allowed in Chabad shuls.

By Moshe Shor - North Miami Beach, FL

A very familiar occurrence will likely transpire in many Chabad shuls on Shabbos morning when Parshas Pinchas will be read from the Torah (the same happens every morning of Pesach, when the same portion is read).

When the Ba'al Koreh will reach a specific point, a mixture of baritone notes overwhelmed by a semblance of tenor accompanies the Ba'al Koreh's drowned out rendition of a single word.

The word is "Ka'eileh" ("כאלה") well into the beginning of the 6th Aliya (Maftir on Pesach), in Posuk 24 (Bamidbar 28:24) which discusses the various sacrifices brought on Pesach.

While it may sound like a cute Minhag that inadvertently got omitted from Sefer HaMinhagim, the recognized book of Chabad-Lubavitch customs, a simple fact check will reveal that leining or humming along with the Ba'al Koreh is actually forbidden.

In the Rebbe Rashab's written proclamation regarding hearing Krias HaTorah (Igros Kodesh of Rebbe Rashab Volume 1, page 177-181), 2 full pages (179-181) are dedicated to deplore this cute Minhag.

In addition to quoting the Zohar, Poskim and other seforim, the Rebbe Rashab categorizes the practice as a "grave transgression" and implores his readers "Chas veSholom not to assist and read along with the Chazan [Ba'al Koreh]."

The referenced Zohar (Vayakhel page 206) likens the Torah reading to a reenactment of standing at Har Sinai and receiving the Torah from Hashem. Utter silence is required, just like it was so during that momentous occasion. Any other voice in addition to the Ba'al Koreh's diminishes the portrayal of the solitary Voice of Hashem.

In fact, this cantorial debacle hasn't been spotted just on Parshas Pinchas and Pesach. Some have the practice to lein/hum along the conclusion of each Aliya. (In one particular Shul which I attended years ago, almost everyone did it per the unofficial Minhag of that Shul).

And if you needed an incentive to give proper attention to Krias HaTorah, allow me to quote the words of the Frierdiker Rebbe (Sefer HaMaamorim Kuntreisim Volume 2, page 790), who's birthday and day of Geula is today, that scrupulous attention to hearing Krias HaTorah affects "children, health, and livelihood."

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Opinions and Comments
Thank you
This shoud give chizuk to those who remain silent throughout the entire krias HaTorah.
(7/11/2014 11:13:37 AM)
not gonna hear it in chabad
but if you go to a polihe shul, over there they rate the baal koreh according to the KU EIEIELEH
(7/11/2014 11:39:38 AM)
Yasher Koach.
But it is hard to resist :-)
Have a great Shabbos!
(7/11/2014 11:40:37 AM)
Thank you for pointing out
This is the last place you need to raise such an issue. People talk nonstop during Krias hatora. If your looking for something to correct, it's a good place to start.
(7/11/2014 11:53:17 AM)
A Solution
In our shul, everyone participates in this "minhag" and sings Ka-eileh out loud however the baal koreh pauses and then resumes reading including the word ka-eileh after everyone is quiet (similar to "haman" in the megila). This would seem to satisfy everyone - both those that enjoy this "minhag" as well as the halachic need for silence during the actual reading of the baal koreh.
(7/11/2014 12:00:09 PM)
as well....
what about the kriya for rosh chodesh??
(7/11/2014 12:04:58 PM)

In the Poilishe Shtiblach that I grew up in, it was widely practiced that the "oilom" read along with the Baal Koireh and especially the end of the Aliyois.
(7/11/2014 12:16:56 PM)
Reb Shor
Mechilas Kvodo, reference the Rebbe N'shmoso Eiden letter that is in regard to reading and singing the kriah along through out the entire reading of the Torah. Not in anyway to disqualify your thoughts however the Coeileh chant ain't the end of the world.
(7/11/2014 12:17:25 PM)
Baal Koreh Trick
As a baal koreh I've gotten to that part and paused, wait for everyone else to say it the I say it! ppl are a bit confused but it works :)

PS I don't think people do it as much in Pinchas cause they're not expecting it as much as when it's on YT where they hear it a lot

PPS can believe this made it to a full news article
(7/11/2014 12:30:36 PM)
To #8
Did you read the article?

Moshe Shor
(7/11/2014 12:46:33 PM)
שנים מקרא ואחד תרגום
אבל מותר לקרוא בשקט מההתחלה עד הסוף אם אתם משלימים לשנים מקרא ואחד תרגום
(7/11/2014 1:01:25 PM)
With all due respect, you are allowed to do shanayim mikra by reading along with the baal koreh. That is the halacha.
(7/11/2014 1:15:39 PM)
Quiet or Loud
To all those bringing cases where it is permitted to read along with the BK, it seems all those cases are where the reading is directly from the Sefer Torah or /and is barely a whisper, which lets the person saying it (as well as others trying to hear Krias Hatorah) hear the BK himself.
(7/11/2014 2:15:30 PM)
11 & 12
That is not minhag chabad.
(7/11/2014 2:56:24 PM)
#8, see page 180
paragraph beginning וז״ל היעב״ץ, specifically condemning אותם שמזמרים ומנגנים בעת קרה״ת התיבות ופסוקים שיש בהם טעמים יפים וערבים לחיכם, ומשתדלים להראות ידיעתם וקול נגינתם
(7/11/2014 3:58:59 PM)
To # 10 Reb Shor
Yes I read your article but please go back and read the Rebbe Rashabs letter. I grew up with Poileshe, galitzianer Chassidim and they would follow the kriah either by humming or just saying the words ( I guess they follow the opinion of doing Shnei Mikra Vechad Targum I.e., listen from BK and follow on your own that's like reading it twice) obviously we don't follow that minhag ALL YEAR. Reference your article it's just a yearly habit much like when Reb Mottel would read out loud on YT kriah the words "״והיית אך שמח we all could not resist even in front of the Rebbe :-) I think we've got more important issues then this...but thanks anyways
(7/11/2014 4:01:01 PM)
מענין לענין באותו ענין
it is extremely common that on ראש חודש and on ימים טובים that when the chazan finishes the brochos in חזרת הש"ץ people start answering amen before the chazan actually finishes the last word of the bracha and this is a halachic problem.
לא יענה אמן חטופה (דהיינו כאלו האל"ף נקודה בחט"ף קמ"ץ או ק"ח אלא בקמ"ץ גדול) וכן שלא יחטוף וימהר לענות אותו קודם שיסיים המברך. שו"ע אדה"ז סימן קכד סעיף יא
(7/11/2014 4:05:10 PM)
let not forget
There is also another minhag in lubavitch, to daven before leinging....learning chassidus before davening too...daven bzibor every teffilah...lets not worry about one word in lening when we all have a lot to be corrected.....a gutten shabbos
(7/11/2014 4:09:54 PM)
I'm always glad to learn these halachos.
(7/11/2014 4:12:31 PM)
#13, see the letter
He specifically addresses whether the oleh (who, we pasken, *should* read together with bal korei) must keep his voice so low that even he can't hear it, or may raise it enough that he can hear it but nobody else. But lechol hade'os nobody else must be able to hear it.
(7/11/2014 4:18:52 PM)
To #12. Chabad minhag is to say shnaim mikra then targum for every pasuk. I believe that it is stated in hayom yom. Also it say in shulchan aruch that one should not read out loud with the bal koreh because ot can cause someone else not to be yotzeh because he hears you and not the baal koreh
(7/11/2014 4:56:31 PM)
#16, re shnayim mikra
1. One may read along for Shnayim Mikra, but *only* if it's so quiet that nobody else can hear.
2. I don't know where you got the bizarre idea that by following and hearing one is yotzei twice! That is impossible. By reading along quietly, one is yotzei *once*, not twice! One still needs to read it a second time, plus the targum (or read the chumash a *third* time with Rashi).
(7/11/2014 5:44:40 PM)
Moshe Shor
To #8/16: My assumption that you didn't read the article stems from this excerpt(It's very clear throughout the article that Ko'Eileh is only a prominent example):

In the Rebbe Rashab's written proclamation regarding hearing Krias HaTorah (Igros Kodesh of Rebbe Rashab Volume 1, page 177-181), 2 full pages (179-181) are dedicated to deplore this cute Minhag.

In addition to quoting the Zohar, Poskim and other seforim, the Rebbe Rashab categorizes the practice as a "grave transgression" and implores his readers "Chas veSholom not to assist and read along with the Chazan [Ba'al Koreh]."

Regarding Shnayim Mikrah: Although the Alter Rebbe in Orach Chaim 285:6 brings a Yesh Matirim to be Maavir Sedrah during Kriah, it's a Bedieved scenario from the standpoint of Shnayim Mikrah as well. The Hora'a leRabim(per the Rebbe L"S 24 page 342; Igros Kodesh 20 page 560) is to follow how the Rebbeim did it, detailed in Hayom Yom Dalet Teves. It's clear from the Rebbe Rashab's letter that Shayim Mikrah shouldn't be done during Kriyah. Only the Oleh leTorah, in order to avoid making a Brocho leVatoloh, reads along(in a Shmone Esrei undertone).

Regarding other important issues: While there are many things that need to fixed in our communities, such as talking during Davening, Kriah,and other serious things, those problems deserve their own forum, and shouldn't be used to obfuscate this issue. Another difference: The 'more' serious infractions are of obvious nature; no one serious about their Yiddishkeit or that of his children talks during Davening or Kriah. Leining or humming along during Kriah, however, is a transgression that isn't well known, and the purpose of this article was to bring attention to it.

A Gutten!

(7/11/2014 6:11:27 PM)
Shnayim mikra
The Gra holds that reading along with the baal koreh counts for one. Minhag chabad (you can look this up in shaarei halacha u'mingag, as well as other places) is not to do this. One is allowed to do shnayim mikra only between aliyos. Look up the shulchan aruch on this, it's in hilchos shabos.
(7/11/2014 6:24:14 PM)
BH I don't have this problem in my chabad house. when my crowd starts singing along with the baal korei, I will know that my work is done. until then, bring it on!
(7/11/2014 6:29:31 PM)
a stretch
There is no such minhag. A handful of people do it and i say good for them! Why make a mountain out of a molehill. The whole article is a stretch....

(7/11/2014 7:48:07 PM)
chabad shuls are unfortunately becoming world renown for their non-stop talking; during laining, davening, dvar torah, it doesnt matter. if you want to focus on halacha and minhag i suggest you start there, not on one word in one parsha which is easily overcome by having the baal koreh wait one extra second.
(7/12/2014 11:27:03 PM)
To #27: Let's all increase our Yirei Shomayim at our level!
Your comment unfortunately is very true, but when one realises the importance of even one word, hopefully this will make the person realise that if even speaking one word is so important, kal vochomer that we fore sure need to be more careful in many more areas also that 'come before this'! i.e. speaking about this area may trigger a person to make a hachlata to be more careful in other areas also, and help the person realise how much more there is to grow!!!

Btw the minhag chabad regarding shnayim mikra is also
quoted in Hayom Yom for 30 Sivan.
(7/13/2014 1:20:45 AM)
To each their own. If the article writer is passionate about a matter which he shows is substantiated by documented Rebbe positions, it's his turn at the mike, and anyone equally moved can/will act accordingly. If you have something else you are passionate about (e.g., talking in the middle of kriah) then say your piece in your own article (if COL wishes to blog it. Don't rain on his parade.

(7/13/2014 2:13:04 AM)
It's not only parshas PInchas, but every single yomtov maftir. When I'm leining, I just pause and read it afterward. Didn't think of writing an op-ed, though. Talk about a storm in a teacup, as if there aren't important things to talk about
(7/13/2014 12:18:45 PM)
its always nice to read well-written articles that teach us the right thing.
those with yiras shomayim apreciate and welcome the chance to learn more.
those lacking will scoff at anything new they hear.
(7/13/2014 9:09:40 PM)
Moshe Shor
To #26: A prohibition rooted in Talmudic and Zoharic sources is a molehill?!

A transgression that the Rebbe Rashab dedicates 2 full pages to and classifies as an "Issur Godol" is considered by your standards to have 'molehill' status?!

The Torah clearly discourages comparing the importance of Mitzvos and Dinim one to the other(save when they conflict), and especially in the light of Chassidus, such comparisons are diametrically opposed to the absolute notion professed by Chassidus of Hashem's Will being unified throughout all details. In plain English: every Din is a mountain, not a molehill.
(7/14/2014 12:30:14 AM)
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