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Looking good when praying in shul is not easy. It's an art, and few have mastered it. Today we will focus on the art of Davening.
Davening is the correct word. If you're going to be Frum, learn the word. It's not prayer. It's Davening. It's definitely not Tefillah. Tefillah is what nonFrum Israelis do. We're not trying to be Dati Leumi. We're trying to look good at a shul. So, here's how to Daven.
Clapp the Table
Clapp means to hit. You hit the table. Give it a zetz. The shows you know what's going on. Middle of your prayers, randomly smack a table. You don't have to wait for the Gabi to do this. You hit a table and you show you're making decisions, appointing yourself the Gabai.
You can never hit the table too much. Hitting a table works for being the first one to answer at Shomer Shabbis game shows. At worst, they'll think you're starting a Nigun. And everybody loves breaking into song during the silent Amidah prayer.
Know When To Be Loud
When you say 'LMan Tizkru' in the Shema prayer, be loud and schlep out the 'z.' It just looks good. When saying the words 'Ya'aleh vYavo' in the Amidah, be loud. It shows you remembered it's Rosh Chodesh and that looks good. You get holy status right away for that. However, be sure to be the first Ya'aleh vYavo guy. The first guy to reach it is the only one who gets credit. Hence, I suggest to skip the first half of the Amidah and just say Ya'aleh vYavo as fast as you can.
Know When to Yell At People
Guy reading the Torah messes up a word, yell at him. This is very important. Most people just yell the correct words at the guy. That's passive aggressive. I suggest to berate him correctly and call him an idiot. A good line can be, 'You fool. Next time practice. You're killing the Davening... Oy!!!' A loud 'oy' of disapproval can truly help you climb a rung on the shul status stairs to the Bima.
At the end of Davening you can also yell out 'Kiddish.' Truth is you should just be loud whenever you have a chance, and yell at anybody you can. It helps with being noticed. Be very loud and bang things. And remember, the worse somebody else feels, the closer you're bringing them to Gd.
Be Fast When You See Hebrew Letters
Be fast and mumble.
If you're the loser that keeps everybody waiting at Hatarat Nedarim, when a group reads their statement to annul their vows, you're not Frum. You might have grown up in a Frum family but you're not Frum. You enunciate too much.
Never enunciate. Good Jews mumble when they talk. This way it always looks like they're praying, even when they are having a conversation.
Sing Whatever You Know
Don't worry about the tune. Nobody in my shul knows the tunes. Come to think of it, they must all think they're harmonizing. Whatever it is, it sounds bad. They're just singing different songs. It's horrendous.
U2’s ‘With or Without You’ works as great harmony for all of the songs you will hear. Don't worry. If you stick to 80s pop music it will sound good. Most of the harmony in shul is a beat off and not to the tune anyways.
Close Your Eyes
It will look like you are very penitent. Do not worry about knowing words here either. There is something about closing the eyes that shows people you do not know where the congregation is at in the Siddur, and that is spiritual.
Show Up Late
That shows you're comfortable in shul.
Know the Choreography
You take three steps back and three steps forward when starting and ending the silent Amidah prayer.
Follow the congregation. That is it. Three small steps. Do not get too excited by the dance. Do not put your right-hand in. Do not take your right-hand out. You start shaking it all about and people write you off as a somebody who goes clubbing.
Go Loud In Your Prayers Every Once in A While
Your praying should have a part where you get higher. Peaks and valleys. Very important. Who cares that you don’t speak or understand Hebrew. Mumble in a loud tone every couple of minutes and you are speaking Yiddish. Go high-pitch loud-tone with your eyes closed, and penitence sets in.
Do not do this for the silent prayer, unless if you are yelling 'Ya'aleh vYavo.' It is silent. Again, follow the other people, if they are silent, you should be too. If they are talking, you should also be telling everybody about your winter vacation plans to Florida.
Never Ask Anybody What Page We're On
Look over their shoulder. Peer into their Siddur. Even ruffle their pages. But never ask anybody the page. It's better to flip your Siddur open and have them thinking you're doing Yom Kippur prayers early. If you're in the wrong Parsha in the Chumash, that's OK. They'll think your Frum and you're learning instead of following the Torah reading. Learning is more Frum than following the Torah reading.
I hope this helps. And remember, looking good when Davening has nothing to do with knowing what any words mean. Just move your mouth and know when to get loud. That's enough. You don't have to know Hebrew to use a Hebrew Siddur confidently. And when you walk into that shul, you walk in with confidence and yell at people. And you be the one to hit people with the Tallis. Take the first shot.
Next time we will go into further detail of how to look penitent. We will discuss the main techniques like how to close your eyes and squint correctly, and how to look very serious like a loved one just passed. We will also go into detail as to how to bow correctly.
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They wanted to clean the silver on the Torah. Instead, they Polished it.
You get it? People from Poland are Polish. They should‘ve polished the silver. Nobody knows what it means. Maybe put a Polish person on it. If you're Polish, we do not mean to offend you. At the Kibbitzer, we are sure that many Polish know how to polish very well.
The Jerusalem Shofar carrying bag and water bottle. Perfect for when you need to blow the Shofar on a Tiyul. (saying something about a Shofar on a hike was where our creativity on this joke came to a halt)