Monday, June 05, 2006

Men's Tehillim Groups - Anyone In?

So I receive the following E-mail:

"A two year-old boy in our community, Moshe Yitzchok ben Devora Malka (Moshe Yitzchok Langer), is scheduled for a kidney transplant this upcoming Wednesday, 11 Sivan, June 7. The donor is his father, Yehuda Aryeh ben Laya (Aryeh Langer).Women will be gathering tonight (Monday evening, June 5,) to say Tehillim at 9:00 PM at Congregation Shomrei Emunah, and on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings (June 6 and 7) at 8:30 PM at Bais Haknesses of Baltimore (Rabbi Weiss's Shul). Any women who can are encouraged to attend..."

First of all, I wish both parties involved well. But, what if I wanted to say Tehillim for these people? I would understand if the e-mail went out telling everyone to have these people in their prayers. But clearly, since they are calling for a group to get together, there must be some intrinsic value to actually getting a group together for prayer. Assuming this is a big deal, which it clearly is - why can't men get together for a Tehillim group? Why are women the only one's allowed to get together for the Tehillim group?

It sounds like they're saying "sure, this is a big deal - but only big deal enough to get the women together, but not big deal enough to stop the men from the Gemara chavruasas." Maybe the men should have them in mind while learning? But, if learning is the best way to help the people out, then let's suggest the women get together and shtaig! If these Tehillim have the ability to help the parties involved, wouldn't the Tehillim take precendent over the Gemara?

The truth is, I wouldn't be interested in a male Tehillim group - because I would be doing it only because the women are and not for 100% pure intentions. However, the point is that by only organizing these groups for men, we are placing a level of importance on the Tehillim - important enough for women to say, but not important enough for men. Presumably, the women are at home taking care of the house and kids, so what's a half hour for a Tehillim group? What if the woman has a chavrusa - should we recommend to the women that she forget the chavrusa and go to the group - or do we say, like by men, that learning is a best path to take?

Just some food for thought....

17 Comments:

Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der ┼íteg) said...

How about women have Tehillim groups, men have Mishley groups? ;-)

5:51 PM, June 05, 2006

 
Anonymous Greg said...

I was unaware that an adult kidney could be transplanted into a 2.5 year old. Fascinating.

6:45 PM, June 05, 2006

 
Anonymous Erica said...

Women do not have the same obligation of limud hatorah that men do. One of the biggest mitzvos a man can do is learn Torah. When a tragedy strikes, prayer is obviously very important but so is limud hatorah, especially when performed by the men who get the bigger mitzvah for it. The choleh benefits greatly when learning is done on his behalf.

Since women don't have the same chiuv in learning, they take to their tehillim when the tragedy strikes, chas V'Shalom. Tefillah has tremendous powers when performed by either sex but I would say that men learning on behalf of the choleh is a bigger mitzvah which accrues greater merit than a man who says tehillim in place of learning. Of course a man saying tehillim in addition to learning is only adding extra merit.

Unfortunatly, there was a terrible accident last Wed. night in Silver Spring and Dov Matisyahu ben Yaffa Yehudis was hit by a car crossing Arcola avenue in front of the Yeshiva on his way home from school. He remains in very critical condition in the hospital and needs our prayers. This terrible accident happened only weeks after a terrible fire, in which b'h no one was hurt, but all possesions were totally lost. Additionally another fire happened this Friday night, again no one was hurt but clearly Hashem is talking to all of us. Rabbi Reingold talked about this in Yeshiva and his message was clear, the b'nei Torah know what they have to do - learning is what has kept the Jewish people alive and that is what the men have to do.

I am not saying that men can't say tehillim, please do, I'm just saying that learning is the ikkur for them and the women cry over their tehillim - both hope to arouse Hashem's rachamim.

Sorry for the long post, Laz - don't feel excluded - please dedicate your learning to this small boy as well as all the other cholim who need it! May we only hear B'soros Tovos.

7:55 PM, June 05, 2006

 
Blogger AlanLaz said...

Erica,

Very valid points.

What, though, if the girl wants to learn in his zechus?

5:47 AM, June 06, 2006

 
Anonymous Erica said...

A girl can learn in the zechus of something but it's not as good as if a man will learn in the zechus of something.

If you're asking what's better - a woman learning or a woman saying tehillim? I have no idea?

8:46 AM, June 06, 2006

 
Blogger SephardiLady said...

I am always amazed how posts can be about a topic that we were just talking about in our own household.

It is near impossible for me (the lady) to go to the tehillim gatherings. But, my husband could easily stay past arvit and represent the family so to speak. Once he tried to do so, not realizing that the "community wide" tehillim gathering was really only for woman and was turned away.

Certainly he could go learn, but I have yet to see a "community wide" learning effort. I'm sure many people dedicate their own learning or that of their chevruta, but without a "community wide" announcement, it certainly doesn't carry the fanfare for the men that a tehillim gathering for the women carries.

All that said, since my husband is the one in the Beit Knesset in the morning, he keeps a bookmark with the names of the very, very sick that need tefillot and says his tehillim for them. I try, but without a seder, it is hard to commit to such things.

8:57 AM, June 06, 2006

 
Blogger SephardiLady said...

Alan-I've seen women dedicate learning in honor of the sick also.

8:58 AM, June 06, 2006

 
Blogger AlanLaz said...

Great point, Sephardilady.

Erica, yes, I am questioning whether or not women's learning would be more beneficial than Tehillim. I don't see why learning works better for the sick person, just because men have a greater mitzvah than women to learn. If, indeed, learning is the best medicine, then women should be doing it as well.

9:05 AM, June 06, 2006

 
Anonymous Erica said...

Alan,
I don't think one is better than the other. I think men's learning is a bigger mitzvah than women's learning. Tefillah is equally important, although I am not sure a man should give up a seder to say tehillim instead. As Sephardilady said, since men are in shul more often they have the opportunity to say tehillim together (as they are doing now every day in Silver Spring)in between mincha/maariv or after maariv or shacharis. They are not encouraged to give up learning for the tehillim but I think it is in addition. I know there was a community wide tehillim here on Wed. night when the accident happened, it included both men and women. I think only G-d can answer which one is more important - we just have to do our best at whichever one we are doing.

12:12 PM, June 06, 2006

 
Anonymous Erica said...

Alan,
I don't think one is better than the other. I think men's learning is a bigger mitzvah than women's learning. Tefillah is equally important, although I am not sure a man should give up a seder to say tehillim instead. As Sephardilady said, since men are in shul more often they have the opportunity to say tehillim together (as they are doing now every day in Silver Spring)in between mincha/maariv or after maariv or shacharis. They are not encouraged to give up learning for the tehillim but I think it is in addition. I know there was a community wide tehillim here on Wed. night when the accident happened, it included both men and women. I think only G-d can answer which one is more important - we just have to do our best at whichever one we are doing.

12:12 PM, June 06, 2006

 
Blogger Ricky Ricardo said...

When I first read the email about the tehillim gathering, I was actually all set to go and put it on my calendar. It was only when I went back to check the email again did I realize that it was only for women. To play devil's advocate, we men are saying certain capitul tehillims for this kid after every davening and maybe that would constitute a tehillim gathering for men. What do you think?

12:44 PM, June 06, 2006

 
Blogger AlanLaz said...

Ricky,

It certainly does sound that saying them after davening would constitute. But let's be honest, how many people actually take the Tehillim said after davening seriously? I bet the women that are getting together have much more kavanah when saying them.

My point isn't that men shouldn't learn in the kid's zechus or that women shouldn't say Tehillim, the point is that either sex should be able to do either. For a guy that doesn't learn, maybe saying tehillim is the best route for him. For a woman who likes learning, maybe she should be learning in his zechus. No need for the gender divide.

1:52 PM, June 06, 2006

 
Blogger SephardiLady said...

With men's learning there isn't much fanfare being that it is an around the clock regularly scheduled affair. But, when tragedy strikes, it would be nice if the nightime learning sessions were given some fanfare, because as you note AlanLaz, kavannah can lack even when there is scheduled time for tehillim.

2:36 PM, June 06, 2006

 
Blogger Jewboy said...

It's a shame that men don't take the Tehillim after daveing seriously. These were instituted because of the situation in Israel, which is still a difficult one despite there being less suicide bombings than a couple years ago. Sometimes if I'm in a major rush I'll leave before the Tehillim, but usually I stay because it's an extra minute or two. I don't know why people don't take it seriously.

3:23 PM, June 06, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was told by the Posek in my Yeshiva in Israel that saying Tehillim is really learning and that is why people say Tehillim. It is the Zchut of learning that helps. (there is a gemara in Kesubos which bring a story with an Amora explicitly like this). Tehillim and learning are one in the same.

9:24 AM, June 07, 2006

 
Anonymous Erica said...

anon,

I can see your point. I mean Tehillim is part of the Ketuvim which is part of Nach which I can see would be considered as learning Torah. Thanks for the insight.

12:02 PM, June 07, 2006

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you say Tehillim, keep others in mind. There is a large list of people at http://www.pleasedaven.org including my mom.

2:49 PM, March 17, 2007

 

Post a Comment

<< Home