Sunday, June 26, 2011

A pest

He comes to synagogue late on Friday nights, usually after Maariv/Evening Services, just in time for our now-minimal Oneg Shabbat (tea and cookies for maybe six Yidden plus the Shabbos Goy) . He comes at least an hour late every Shabbat/Sabbath morning, even though he knows that every male is desperately needed for the Torah reading in a radically-underpopulated congregation that won't give women aliyot. (Since our synagogue counts women for a minyan and, in recent years, has rarely had a minyan before the Amidah prayer of Shacharit/Morning Service, I've discontinued my former practice of praying through the Shacharit Amidah at home [in order to pray at my own pace], and now pray only up to the P'sukei D'Zimrah section at home before going to shul.) Despite being fluent in Hebrew, he never volunteers to chant haftarot (readings from the prophets) anymore, and will no longer help read the Torah when the chazzan/baal koreh (cantor/Torah reader) is on vacation. But he complains if we try to rush him through his beloved Torah-study presentation at Seudah Shlishit (the "Third Meal," between Minchah/Afternoon Service and Maariv/Evening Service), despite the fact that he's usually missed Minchah altogether. (I've long since given up mentioning to him that, since there's no eruv in the neighborhood, he shouldn't be carrying texts to synagogue for the Seudah Shlishit study session.) And, despite his late arrival at, and early completion of, Shacharit (Morning Service) on Sunday (I assume he only comes for the post-service breakfast), he got insulted when I accused him of not being serious about prayer. (Judging by the fact that he stands and prays for a few minutes, then puts on tallit and tefillin and stands and prays for another few minutes, I'm assuming that he goes straight from Birkot HaShachar/Morning Blessings to the Amidah prayer without benefit of Sh'ma, or much of anything else.)

This week, though, he got my goat even worse than usual: After nagging the chazzan to rush through Maariv at the end of Shabbat, this guy had the unmitigated gall to leave before the Amidah prayer, only about halfway through the service. My husband takes it all in stride and just shrugs it off, figuring that that kind of behavior is pretty much what we can expect from this guy. Me, I'm still fuming. This guy insisted that I davven/pray considerably faster than my usual so-called speed, but didn't even have the courtesy to stay put while I attempted to do so. As far as I'm considered, he's just a selfish show-off with no concern for the needs of the congregation. One of these days . . .


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