Sunday, May 6, 2012

Had I gone out to a Kiddush Club

Had I gone out to a Kiddush Club during the haftorah this morning, I would have missed a few things.

I would have missed seeing a Bar Mitzvah boy read the haftorah - perfectly - from a klaf (parchment, without the vowels).

I would have missed seeing the same Bar Mitzvah boy creatively duck under the shulchan (table on which the Torah is read) to escape a hail of candy after finishing the haftorah.

I would have missed saying Yekum Purkan with my youngest, who is racing through the words a little too quickly but is adorable doing so.

I would have missed the chance to say the Av haRachamim paragraph at the time it is most meaningful. The paragraph was written in grief for the Jews massacred during the Crusades during these months of Iyyar and Sivan; just a few days ago was the anniversary of the mob attack on the Jews of Speyer in 1096, for example. We say it every Shabbos, but this time of year is when it means the most.

I would have missed kissing the Torah on its way back to the Aron Kodesh.

We've spoken about Kiddush Clubs before; I'm not interested in re-opening the debate. I'm just saying.

What did you gain by going to a Kiddush Club this Shabbos?
What did you gain by not going?


  1. I'm with you on this one Rabbi T. Our shul a few years ago banned the kiddush clubs. Anyone wanting to make kiddush or give a kiddush can only do so at the completion of davening. All the things you mention now happen for everyone in shul, and what doesn't happen is some men who get so muddled from making kiddush twice within a few hours (and with multiple shots of high alcohol liquor)that they're not sure where they are or how they got there, but they sure can't pay attention to the davening.

  2. Here is some good news about Kiddush clubs (at least I think so!), a real Tikkun, I beleieve:

    Our Shul in Ramat Bet Shemesh Alef started (in January, 2012, I believe) a Kiddush club in a way that appears to me to be a Tikkun for the improprieties of the Kiddush Clubs which we have known up until now.

    These men (usually between 4 and 7 of them) come to the Shul 15-20 minutes before Minchah on Shabbat afternoon, and bring out the Schnappes and some cake and soda and nuts (or whatever) and "feast" together for 10 or 15 minutes and call it "the Kiddush Club" (and only one or two of them are English speaking!).

    The Tikkun that I see is that:

    They do not disturb davening, or interrupt their own davening, and

    They do not make Kiddush before the rest of the congregation, and

    They do not become rowdy/drunk during Tefillah (certainly not Mussaf, which is finished long before they start drinking, but not even Minchah, which they join in afterwards, since they do not over-imbibe and they do not ask to be Chazzanim if they feel they are tipsy or something).

    As we say in Chassidut, there is a true Tikkun for everything, and this might just be the Tikkun for the improprieties of those Kiddush Clubs which we have previously seen.

    Halevai that Am Yisrael should find more and more Tikkunim and redeem all of the holy sparks which Hashem has put in our world.


    sociology of kiddush clubs is reltaed to the above imho
    Joel Rich

  4. Great post and delivered in the most mentchlikeit way!

  5. ProfK-
    Thanks. Have people noticed an improvement in quality of the davening since the ban?

    I like it; good approach.

    In part, yes.


  6. at best it is half a tikkun. the shulhan aruch says that drinking pasuls someone from prayer. yes the mishna bruria brings heterim that if you aren't plastered you can daven, but no one can claim that anytime of drinking before tefila is a tikkun. people who pride themselves on being machmir certainly not.

  7. I think we need to be more empathetic with the Qiddush Club member. We have an increased number of people with ADD/ADHD, an increased number of people who were never taught (by example or [if even possible] in class) who to relate to tefilah, and an increase in the number of people who need intellectual stimulation to overcome the above -- who expect religion to be more like learning.

    They're squirming in their seats. They need an excuse to get up and take a break. Camaraderie with the other Qiddush Club members might be the one thing left that gives them any feeling of connection to the shul experience.

    Can we take away their Qiddush Club without first addressing the source of their boredom?

  8. Looking back at the comments again, since I typed up the above and the next morning, when I saw I hadn't clicked "post" yet...

    My post is just an elaboration of some of the ideas in the article RJR (Anonymous, May 6, 2012 03:15 PM) linked to.

  9. Ben-
    Minimum shiur?

    R' Micha-
    I agree; that's why I wrote I didn't want to open up the larger Kiddush Club discussion here. For some of my thoughts on how to do this, please see my 2008 post here.

  10. I haven't come across many kiddush clubs (in terms of drinking during the haftarah) in the UK. One thing I have heard of, though, is similar to what Catriel Lev says: a shul where members who like a good whisky go to each other's houses in turn once a month after musaf for kiddush. The only drawbacks to this that I can think of are late lunches for their families and problems if one member thinks another's house isn't kosher enough for him or her. But these are solvable.

    Regarding what you would have missed if you had gone, as a fan of NaKh, I would say missing the haftarah is a bad thing regardless of who is reading it! For many people, the haftarah and the megillot are the only real exposure they get to NaKh, although that is a subject for another post.

  11. The shul where our kid davened while at college didn't have a kiddush club as such, as far as I know, but there were often parallel activities taking place during haftarah, even sometimes led by the rabbi. I always found this very curious; it really seems an unmistakable message that this part of the service is unimportant, or at best optional.