I received the following inquiry the other day, from a reader; it is mildly edited:
Just saw the Igros Moshe's teshuvah stating that if the minhag is to get
a yasher koach from the rabbi after your aliyah, then that's a proper
minhag and it shows respect to the rabbi, so it can't be voided without
the rabbi's permission -- "whether those who aren't doing it have done
so to spite the rabbi, or simply out of laziness."
1. I assume this minhag is far, far more prevalent in shuls with bima-in-front? Otherwise you're walking all over the shul.
Do you think this is a good minhag? When I was a teenager in the good-old-days, I was taught it's the way it was done
(with the rabbi's seat way up on the bima, facing
the crowd), so I did it. In subsequent years I've been to
bima-in-the-middle shuls where it wasn't as prevalent -- and honestly
I'd like to get back to the parsha, please; and a quick yasher koach
often can turn into a conversation, for which this isn't the time.
seems not unlike the rabbi following around behind the sefer torah and
shaking everyone's hand -- it can feel like "okay now it's shmoozing
Two to three hours whereby it's just us talking to
the Ribono shel Olam, then you open a chumash and listen for Him talking
back -- that's my ideal experience.
I see his point, certainly; any trip through the shul will involve extra greetings, and the face-to-face with the Rabbi may add to that. On the other hand, while acknowledging the distraction I must still note that the fundamental challenges to shul decorum are not a product of "Good shabbos" greetings and "Yeyasher Kochacha" congratulations. Further, it would be terrible to cause insult in the name of spirituality.
So I replied:
This is one of those cases (and there are many) in which we have
competing interests. We want to emphasize respect for the Rabbi. And we want to
maintain decorum - indeed, we are told that the person who receives an aliyah remains at the
Torah through the next aliyah specifically so that he will have more
time to return to his seat without causing disruption.
But since the prevalent minhag (even where the bimah is in the
middle) is to shake the Rabbi's hand, I do believe it
is profoundly disrespectful to decline to do so, regardless of the
What do you think?