Sunday, March 30, 2008
What's the Yetzer Hara Behind "Shalosh Sheudos" Speeches?
For various reasons, last night I davened at a Shul other than the one I usually daven in for Maariv after Shabbos and after making Shalosh Sheudos at home. I had the misfortune of being there early and hearing what that Shul's regularlar mispalelim experience in place of a regular Shalosh Sheudos each week.
Baruch Hashem, the Shul I daven at really knows how to do Shalosh Sheudos. It is my understanding that the time of Shalosh Sheudos is the holiest part of Shabbos. It is called Ra'ava D'ra'avon, ratzon shebaratzon, the most desirous time of Shabbos. It is a time of growth in ruchnius. It is a time of dibuk Chavreirim, connecting as friends, zmiros, niggunim, divrei Torah, and divrei hisorerus, words that uplift. This is how Shalosh Sheudos is spent in my Shul and I guess I have become pampered by that and have forgotten what kinds of experiences other Jews are subjected to at the time of Shalosh Sheudos.
In the Shul I visited last night, there was, first of all, no seuda at all. In it's place the people were subjected to a rabbi/professor, who was telling over some interesting article written by another rabbi/professor. The topic involved a little bit of Torah, a modicum of intellectual stimulation and absolutely no ruchnius, spirituality. Given my lack of exposure in recent times to such fare, I was mortified that such a thing was going on in an orthodox Shul.
My question is, though, why would a Shul have such speeches during Shalosh Sheudos, the holiest part of Shabbos?! Is a seuda with singing and divrei Torah/divrei hisorerus really so much less interesting than speeches by rabbi/professors?
I think that the answer is that it's escapism. One has to be somewhat active and intersted to appreciate a really nice and uplifting Shalosh sheudos. But if your soul is thirsting for something greater at the holiest time in Shabbos, but you're not ready to give it that because it might involve some feeling of wanting/actual spiritual growth, then the the best way to take your mind off of that feeling is just to listen to some speech that gets your mind off of ruchnius, and keeps the soul asleep till the time that you really look forward to, Motzoi Shabbos, with its pizza, movies and even more exciting six-days-of-the-week distractions.
It's sad but I think that's really what these "Shalosh Sheudos speeches" are really all about. Just passing the time and keeping your mind off of ruchnius till Shabbos will finally be over.
Give me a nice warm Shalosh Sheudos over such dry, soul-numbing fare anytime!
(Picture courtesy of video is of Shalosh Sheudos [taken after Shabbos] of Krechniv rebbe of Yerushalayim)
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