Friday, October 12, 2018

Walking Out for the Rabbi’s Drasha – To Participate In A KIDDUSH CLUB

Image result for shot glasses of liquor
(By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for
There was someone who had walked out of the sanctuary of the shul to where the other men were making kiddush. This time, however, someone began to berate him:
“You don’t come here to daven! You come here to drink and to talk!”
This vignette would normally be unremarkable, except for the fact that the person doing the berating was the shul’s Hispanic custodian. The story is not apocryphal – it genuinely happened.
What we are concerned about, however, is not the berating per se, but rather the halacha behind walking out in the first place.
The man was walking into the shul’s unofficial “Kiddush Club.”

A Kiddush Club is when people walk out of shul before the Rabbi’s speech or before the haftorah – in order to make kiddush on wine or schnapps and socialize.
The proliferation of Kiddush clubs is so great that there was article about it in Newsweek during the summer of 2004. There is even a Wikipedia entry on the subject. After a definition the article notes:
“The practice was criticized by the Orthodox Union (OU) in December 2004, when the OU called for the elimination of such practices. OU Executive Vice President Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb criticized “Kiddush Clubs” for detracting from the honor of the synagogue, promoting gossip (lashon hara), and leading participants to return to services in a state of intoxication (which are violations of Jewish Law), reducing decorum, and enabling the problem of substance abuse.”
Aside from the five points Rabbi Weinreb mentions – there is the sixth issue of Kavod HaTorah – the honor of Torah itself – namely – the Rabbi who is giving his drasha.
Although we know that there is nothing greater than the study of Torah, we find something fascinating in Meseches Megillah (3b). There it states that kavod haTorah – honoring Torah is greater than limud haTorah – the study of Torah. If a Talmid Chochom dies on Purim we eulogize him even if it will mean that we will be unable to hear the Megillah!
The Derech Chaim on Pirkei Avos 6:3 demonstrates clearly that Kavod HaTorah is greater than the honor that must be given kings.
Rav Ovadiah Yoseph zt”l notes that in our generation (Yechaveh Daas VI #49), Kavod haTorah has already fallen ten flights down.
The Rosh explains in Nedarim 22b that even after the Beis HaMikdash was destroyed women continued to go up to Yerushalayim on the three regalim in order to hear Torah.  Even though they are exempt from Torah study they went up because of Kavod haTorah.
The Gemorah is filled with illustrations of people who did not exit during a Torah discourse to use the facilities and suffered medical repercussions based on this. The reason that they did not leave was because of Kavod HaTorah.
In recent years, many shuls have reacted in different ways to kiddush clubs. Some have tried banning them altogether. This has had mixed results. Since many of the participants are from the more powerful members of the congregation, the Rabbis have had a hard time eliminating them.
One woman interviewed for this article asked: What message does the kiddush club send to their own children, the Rav and the community? The drasha of the Rav could a great source of inspiration for the husbands. If they miss that one opportunity – where else will they get chizuk?”
Another woman said: “I worked so hard to get my son to shul. When he arrived – the seat was empty. Where was his father? At the Kiddush club!”
As far as the history of Kiddush Clubs – it is not so new. A responsa Sefer called Yefeh Nof (rbought to this author’s attention on the Seforim Blog) that was written by Rav Moshe Yitzhak M’zia (1530-1600) states as follows:
About the custom of the bachurim on Shabbos to leave the synagogue after the Torah is removed from the ark to drink whisky before mussaf, is this permitted?
Rav M’zia answers:
If they do not sit down for a meal this is permitted because the law does not follow Rav Huna who prohibits tasting prior to mussaf.
At the time, however, Rabbonim did not give drashos – so only Rabbi Weinreb’s first five points apply.
The author can be reached at


Anonymous said...

if the rabbis would give their speeches after davening is over then half the kiddush club issue would be resolved.

Anonymous said...

The problem as to why people walk out during the 'drosho' is due to the fact that MOST rabonim go on & on for about 20 minutes. They do NOT get the message. Just look around in your shule after about 8 minutes and see people snoozing, reading etc. The best droshos should last about 8 minutes.

Alex V said...

If the rabonim really mean God and not their own ego, they would daven faster and not speak. No one would leave if davening is fast.
Also, if they think that they speak so well, why don't they speak after davening and see how many people are interested?
Or do they know the truth....

Monsey said...

First it was the wine store next to Rockland Kosher

Now it's Wine on 59 next to Mechel's take out.

A Chassidishe zhlob in charge at Wine on 59 is approaching walk in customers asking them to try a sip of a Barkan selection. When he is told there is a kashrus problem with shvartz workers who kimat lechol hadeyos are not Yidden, he claims to not know anything about it. At this point he is hostile & refuses to help you find what you are looking for. Personally I don't believe for a second that anyone in their industry is not aware of this tumult. And why else would he suddenly become uncooperative when he is politely notified?

Before exiting the store, check out the sampling table. It is full of NON-mevushol wines that anyone walking in can taste with no mashgiach attending to it.

As I'm leaving a heimishe fellow exiting at the same moment asked me if I imbibed a shot from a particular bottle on the table. I informed him I had not as there is no mashgiach and anyone nisht frum or nisht fun unzera can walk in at any time. In fact there was someone not heimish in the store at that very moment. It suddenly dawned on the other fellow he had just downed without thinking wine that is likely from pegias Akum. He turned pale & was visibly overcome by a tzitter.

Then another customer walks out & comments to me that the zhlob in charge just showed what a rude behayma he is when he asked a simple question. This second customer had been talking to me inside the store & I explained the Barkan situation to him so the zhlob may have been nokaim against him.

Knighted Vorpal Sword said...

Ahhh, Monsey, Rav Ovadia Yosef zt"l paskened that the "shvartz workers" are fully Jewish. Just because you and your ilk don't follow halacha as paskened by one of the greatest poskim, doesn't mean that Rav Ovadia is wrong. I believe, my friend, that the person here that's wrong is you.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Monsey,
your speech is very nice. Perhaps you can repeat it in English? Some of us are not us yeshivish as you (baruch Hashem) so we don't chap the maaselech that you are darshening.

Chafraud-Depravitch said...

"He turned pale & was visibly overcome by a tzitter."

I used to get those as a teenager.
An over the counter cream can get rid of them in a few days.
They're way easier to cure than religious fundamentalism.