Sunday, October 03, 2010

Hoshanah Rabbah at the Carlebach Shul

I arrived at the Carlebach Shul roughly 50 minutes late, and fully expected to have to play catch-up for the Matbeiah shel Tefillah (the hard-core required part of the service). I needn't have worried--much to my surprise, the baal tefillah (prayer leader) was just getting to the Yishtabach prayer when I walked in. I hadn't even missed Bar'chu!

There's plenty of singing, and, because one is permitted to play musical instruments on Hoshanah Rabbah, a few of those too, at the Carlebach Shul during Hallel on Hoshanah Rabbah, which is why I went there. (This year featured a guitar, a clarinet, and a violin). I figured out that, if I could match the words to the tune being played and sung, I should sing along, and, if not, I should just recite each psalm to the end and sing la-la-la thereafter. So I was having a grand old time. I got thoroughly lost, though, when we got to the parts of Hallel during which the lulav and etrog are waved. Apparently, the minhag/custom at the Carlebach Shul, at that point in Hallel, is not to wave the lulav and etrog over own's shoulders, but to turn own's entire body in each direction--forward, right, back, left (clockwise)--and wave the lulav and etrog straight forward while facing each way. Neither the baal tefillah nor anyone else one was actually leading this part of Hallel, nor were any explanations being given, so I had no idea how many times one was supposed to do this. I finally gave up trying to figure out what was going on and, following my own lulav-waving minhag, completed the rest of Hallel on my own, on the assumption that there would be no harm in repeating a psalm if I ever figured out when to do so. And, indeed, I ended up doing a few psalms (or parts thereof) more than once. I'm guessing that the baal tefillah finally got to the closing b'rachah/blessing about 10 minutes after I did.

If you enjoy lots of enthusiastic singing in both the men's and women's sections, you'll love the Carlebach Shul on Hoshanah Rabbah. Women are welcome to bring lulavim and etrogim (and wear a tallit/prayer shawl, if so inclined). And all of us, male and female, were encouraged to buy "Hoshanot"--bundles of willows consisted of five branches bound together--for the ritual at the end of the Hoshanah prayers. I should mention that we women were given our own sefer Torah/Bible scroll so that we could do the Hoshanah circles in the women's section.

The Carlebach Shul is very welcoming and lots of fun on Hoshanah Rabbah, but you should be forwarned that their Hoshanah Rabbah Hallel is probably the longest in history. :) I got there at about 9:50 AM, but I don't think we finished Hallel until about noon! Much as I enjoyed myself, I may look for a synagogue that's a little easier on my feet for next year's Hoshanah Rabbah morning services. Recommendations would be appreciated.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

RE: music on Hoshanna Rabbah.
Although playing musical instruments is of course allowed as it is not yontif, I do believe that there is a rabbinic injunction against using musical instruments in conjunction with davening even on weekdays since this was done in Beit Hamikdash and we don't want to appear that we are trying to replace that.

Mon Oct 04, 01:05:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

It seems to me that I've heard of other Orthodox synagogues in the New York City area holding Hoshanah Rabbah services accompanied by musical instruments, so I think that there may be differences of opinion concerning this rabbinic injunction.

Tue Oct 05, 01:35:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous rivkayael said...

I think Anon 1:05 is referring to a gemera in Gittin that questions the permissibility of music after the destruction of the Temple. However if one holds by that view, music is not permitted at all (not how we hold these days), not just during davening.

Wed Oct 06, 09:54:00 AM 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was not refering to that.
There is a seperate prohibition against having musical insturments in cunjuntcion with synagouge worship even on weekdays. I looked into it and apperantly this ruling was made by a German rabbinic court and is probably not therefore binding on all communities.

Wed Oct 06, 01:00:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

If that's true, then I feel sorry for those German Jewish communities who suffer from this ban. Aren't they allowed to have any legitimate fun? :(

Thu Oct 07, 11:16:00 AM 2010  
Anonymous rivkayael said...

Shira: several shuls in manhattan have musical hallel during yom haatzmaut services. And the Germans do have fun--the Shabbat services and nusach at Breuers are gorgeous. No need for musical embellishment.

Thu Oct 07, 05:37:00 PM 2010  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Neat! I'd love to attend a Yom HaAtzmaut service with a musical Hallel. Which shuls have them?

I'm not talking about Shabbat, on which all Orthodox authorities forbid the use of musical instruments--I'm talking about days on which the playing of musical instruments is permissible according to at least some Orthodox opinions. I'm not fond of the use of musical instruments on Shabbat or the Shalosh Regalim/Pilgrimage Festivals, and I'm a great fan of nusach (traditional tunes for prayer).

Fri Oct 08, 02:28:00 PM 2010  
Anonymous rivkayael said...

KOE, not sure if Ramat Orah has them? I'll have to check and let you know when the time comes.

I prefer without musical accompaniment actually...hallel with a guitar just sounds cheesy ;). CKJ has a normal shacharit with hallel (and shir hamaalot sung to hativah). It's very beautiful in its dignity.

Thu Oct 14, 11:53:00 PM 2010  
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