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Many of my students have asked when they should say Yasher Koyach. The true answer is when you want to disrupt Davening (prayers).
However you use Yasher Koyach, we say it too much. Be it Yasher Koyach or Yashkoych, or Shkoych, or Shkoch, or Ych, there are proper times to say it. It is meant to tell somebody 'job well done,' and most people in my congregation are not deserving of that. Now people get a Yashkoych for anything. They sneeze, they get a Yashkoych and they think they did a good job of blowing. Egos inflated for allergies. Here is a list that will help you figure out when to wish a Yashkoych.
Who Deserves a Yashkoych
If they got the Aron curtain right on the first pull, they get a Yashkoych. If they had to pull the string more than twice, they have no coordination. No Yashkoych. Somebody gets an Aliyah. No Yashkoych. They did nothing. The guy Layning deserves a Yashkoych. He prepared. He studied the Parsha. He deserves a Yashkoych and a Kiddish. The guy who calls up people to the Torah. That Gabai gets a Yashkoych. They have to read a bit. The other Gabai standing there, because he can't find a seat. Find him a seat. No Yashkoych for somebody who can't play musical chairs right. If he corrects the guy Layning, he gets a Yashkoych. Even if the guy Layning says it right. As long as he corrects him it's fine. A Yashkoych for getting himself noticed. That shows he was following the Torah reading, even if he can't read Hebrew with Nikdoodot right. That's a something. Guy carrying the second Torah around shul. Give him a little something. A candy. A candy. Candy man gets a Yashkoych and a thank you.
Hagbah, lifting the Torah, Yashkoych. That's a man. Galila, rolling the Torah. If it's somebody over fifteen years old, mock them. Give them the Torah to hold for twenty minutes, while the Hagbah dude goes back to his seat to relax and get some Yashkoychs. If the Hagbah guy opened less than three columns, let him sit there with the Torah. Nobody's scared of him.
Any Aliyah, if they do Mishebeyrachs for their whole family, they relinquish the right to Yashkoychs.
Sponsoring a Kiddish gets a Yashkoych if there is potato kugel. If the Kiddish only had Danish. No Yashkoych. Babka. If it's a decent Babka, a Yashkoych. Sponge cake deserves disappointment. You stop a kid from taking a cookie before the rabbi makes Kiddish. Yashkoych. That's a community leader. Stops by your house to drop off the Babka, a Yashkoych.
Shows up to shul, they get a Shabbat Shalom. No Yashkoych. Gets a hit for the shul softball team, a Yashkoych and an elbow-to-elbow high-five.
Kid getting up for Anim Zemriot. No Yashkoych. Don't need a third grader thinking he's great. Bar Mitzvah boy, no Yashkoych. Bar Mitzvah boy Layns. Definitely no Yashkoych. We don't want to encourage that kid to do that slow Torah reading again. It's painful. Throw candies at the kid real hard. Let him learn a lesson. Bat Mitzvah girl, only gets a Yashkoych if the Bar Mitzvah boy is there. Makes him feel bad. Parents get a Yashkoych, especially after that blessing that says how happy they are that they don't have to 'deal with this punishment' anymore. That blessing helps all parents feel better.
Why It's Important to Not Give Everybody a Yashkoych
We don't need more underachievers in our community. The egos of my congregants are so inflated from over Yashkoyching. Berel got back from the bathroom, he got a Yashkoych. The other guy thought he was coming back from an Aliyah. Now, Berel goes to the bathroom every Shabbis morning during Layning. He gets more respect for that than leading Shacharit.
One guy walking back from the Aliyah. He thought he was a rock star, pointing at everybody, 'Baruch Tihiyeh to you.' He was like Triple H walking out on Monday Night RAW. At a Sefardi Minyin the same guy turned around to the Kehillah (congregation) and shouted, 'Chazak vAmatz to all of you,' and he didn't even buy them a round.
The point is that the Yashkoychs are getting to people's heads, and the guy even messed up the Barchu. He said the second blessing first.
I hope this helps you figure out when to say Yashkoych. If you truly care and want to make somebody smile, say 'Mazel Tov.' Everybody loves a Mazel Tov. It makes them feel like they just celebrated something. For Berel, it was the restroom in the back of the shul.
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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)