Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Manners versus Convenience

I'm a usually very well mannered person, at least I think so. The times that I've been caught drinking straight out of a bottle (a 2 liter one) seem to make that fact obsolete, and I did send out my thank you notes for things rather late, but on the whole, I try to be respectful of others.

Yet, here is where I hit a bump, or snag, if you will.

You see, I'm a mommy, and I love being one. But I also have a brain, and I'd like to use it. So when I see all these shiurim advertised around my community, for convenient times and close location, I'd love to attend one, and get my gray cells working.

But, NBD is a baby, and does have that wonderful tendency of babies to be extremely self absorbed, causing her to interrupt what ever I may be doing at the moment to ask me to be involved in her life. And I'm happy to do so.

Yet, that means I can't attend shiurim. Most speakers and listeners HATE to be interrupted, especially by a complaining baby. In fact, some shiurim request that you not bring children at all, simply for that reason.

There is one phenomenal shiur in the neighborhood, given by the local Rebbitzen that requests that children attend- and no one minds if my kid starts complaining, or wants to nurse right in the middle of the shiur. Which is great for me, since I love being able to hear some words of Torah.

But, why can't I violate the mannerly thing to do and head to other shiurim, and just leave if NBD makes a peep? Is it wrong and uncouth to bring her to a shiur if I assume that in the middle she probably will disrupt? For, the second she disrupts, I will take her out. But at least I'll get to hear something!

Are words of Torah worth being unmannerly?


SIS said...


nmf #7 said...

SIS- That was my gut reaction too, but I thought I would pose it to the blogosphere.
Sigh. At least I have my one shiur a week that encourages child participation. (We try and see which kid screams the loudest :D)

mekubal said...

Go. Definitely go, especially to women's shiurim. See how the child is tolerated, and then decide whether or not to go back. In most women's shiurim nursing babies are well tolerated. If you want to bring along a toddler on the other hand, that may be a bit of a problem. There is nothing unmannerly about taking a baby to a women's shiur. It is part of the Jewish world.

ProfK said...

I can't understand how shiurim for women are held during the day and it is not understood that some children will be present. If the children are all of school age then the mother is somewhat older and may not be available for a shiur during the day because she may be at work. If her children are not school age then what do those giving the shiur think she will do with her children in order to attend?

the rabbi's wife said...

some shiurim have babysitting co-ops attached, but babies under 9 ish months shouldn't be a problem. I've even been to a shiur where there was a mechitza for nursing moms, as the teacher was a rabbi. Can I ask what neighborhood the shiur for moms and kids is? If it's not too far, I want to go!

itsagift said...

There's always torahanytime.com or kol halashon! I think that's what it's for, for those people who cannot come in person but want to hear the speeches. Go online or pick up the phone and you have it all at your fingertips!
Todays technology is just amazing - and now you don't have to feel like you missed out on the shiur!

nmf #7 said...

Mekubal- But if they specifically request NOT to bring children, how am I allowed to even show up?

And, some find it offensive to nurse in a shiur. I know, it shouldn't be, but it is.

ProfK- I guess there are women out there who's kids are in school and they aren't working, so they can attend a shiur during the day.

Also, older women can show up. But you are right- if I'm not working right now, and I have a kid at home, they should allow kids at morning shiurim.

Rabbi's Wife- That's so cool- a mechitza- why don't more shiurim do that :D

Send me an email, I'll give you the details if you want them. But it's in my neighborhood, so it may be too much of a shlep for not enough benefit. Although I love it immensely.

Itsagift- Yeah, I could turn on a tape as well. But there is something about going to a live shiur. First of all, it's at a specific time, and for procrastinating people like me, setting a time means that I fit it into my schedule. It's like moving your money into a CD so you won't touch it- it forces me to attend at THAT time.

Secondly, there is nothing like hearing a person face to face to get me alive and interested.

I used to drive for an hour and a half to work, and the only shiurim on tape that could keep me awake were R' Dovid Orlofsky, R' Paysach Krohn, and sometimes others. They were dynamic enough to keep me awake even when they weren't live.

If I just listen to tapes, I'm tempted to do dishes, or deal with other chores, and just ignore the shiur.

itsagift said...

I totally hear you. I know that there's something special about going to a shiur and listening and watching the speaker, being part of the crowd of listeners. It has a different affect.

I myself have listened to speeches while doing the dishes or cleaning the house, but I had to listen to the speech a few times over to get the whole thing because it's harder to concentrate and focus....but it's better than not getting any inspiration!

I don't know, I just don't think it's right to bring children to a shiur. There's a time and place for everything and now's your time to take care of your baby. If it's accepted in your community to bring her to speeches, fine. But I still don't think it's the right thing to do. Babies can be disruptive and it's not fair to the other people who came and want to gain from the shiur but instead have to deal with someone else's baby who is making noise.