05 October 2008

The reach.

People aren't even aware they're doing it. It comes close to Borchu or Shmonah Esrai and there's an automatic reach above the shoulders, grabbing the tallis and then tugging it over the head.

Artscroll Machzorim are wonderful but they completely miss this very important Inyan. The problem is that not everyone is aware of the proper time to initiate the Reach. For example, on Rosh Hashana before duchening, judging from my shul, it appears there's a Machlokes Haposkim. Many people in my shul start the reach with Avinu Malkeinu Zchor Rachamecha while others wait until Elokeinu V'elohai Avoseinu. This is very puzzling and is detrimental to the Achdus in my shul.

Just like it says "The Ark is opened", Artscroll needs to spell out, "The Tallis is raised over the head".

Additionally, we need a section in the Halachos containing the following information.

"Covering the head with the Tallis"

It is a time honored tradition to raise the Tallis over the head during various parts of the Teffilla. Not everyone raises it for every occasion but we have noted when exactly the Head is to be covered.

  • The Rav is required to keep his head covered during the entire Teffilah including Leining. When addressing the congregation, the Rav may be Meikil, except before Ne'ilah.

  • Similarly, Kolel Youngeleit, the non cool ones, are also expected to cover the head during the entire Teffilah. Covering the head during Leining is optional.

  • Balleh Battim. The Machzor indicates when the Tallis is to be raised and when it can be removed.

  • Newbie skeptics are advised to behave like Kolel Youngeleit to avoid any suspicion.

  • Experienced skeptics realize no one is watching and you can do as you please.

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