Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mechitzahs & Talleisim - an MO love story

One of the best reasons to go to an MO shul is for the view. You just don't get the same buzz going to a tiny shtiebel where the women's section is somewhere behind floor-to-ceiling bookcases, a concrete wall or thick curtains that never move.
I've been to a few shtiebels where the women sit upstairs in a converted two-family house with only a small hole in the floor and if you strain your ears enough you can almost make out every third word of Kriyas HaTorah. The truth is, you often do get your best davening done in those shtiebelach (unless some nosy shadchan decides to sit next to you and takes the opportunity to try to find out what your father does for a living).
But there are times when you feel like getting all dolled up for shul, and an audience of middle-aged yentas just isn't doing it for you.
When you know you're looking your best, it's way more fun to go an MO shul with a Soloveichik-style mechitzah - it's like the kosher version of a nightclub - you get to see and be seen.
You know what I'm talking about - the number one reason people go to shul is for social reasons (I will admit that might hold more true for women, as we don't have the same obligation to daven with a minyan - so maybe it's number two for men... why else would kiddush clubs exist?).
Sometimes I do get tired of the show - I've actually written about that before. (surely you've read every post I've ever written? All 500-and-counting, right? If not, here it is.) So I don't let myself indulge too often - but when I do, I try to make it worthwhile.
Great views are not only exclusive to MO shuls. One of the best seats a girl will ever get is at the Karliner Shul in Meah Shearim (who woulda thunk!). There the women sit upstairs behind a one-way mirror so that they can watch the men scream out the Shema (they literally yell at the top of their lungs) without risk of being seen. (although, that view is more amusing than gratifying)

The most gratifying Shabboses happen when there's a new cute non-tallis-wearing Potential in town. I really feel for my Sephardi and Yekki friends with this one. Catching the eye of a hot guy only to discover he's only in shul for his daughter's baby naming can be quite a letdown. Why else was the tallis mandated by G-d if not to shield vulnerable young women from similar awkward situations?
Unfortunately nothing can prepare a girl who's still waiting for her beshert for the heartbreak that happens when she makes eye-contact with a total Potential (as she designs her wedding dress in her head during Shacharis) only to discover that - SHOCKER - it's his Aufruf.
Where is this post going? (Sometimes I forget because on here I tend to I write the way I think - which is one huge rambling mess.)
So ya - anyhow - my point is that sometimes a low mechitzah in an MO shul can be the answer to a single girl's prayers (maybe she remembered to say Shir HaShirim for 40 days straight).


Frum N' Flipping said...

In the Bitza (Jerusalem's UWS), some single Sephardi guys stop wearing Tallis's when they feel it's ruining their potential at Shul. How else will the girls know they are available?

Data said...

I have soooooooo been there with the wedding design and the child naming. And it's his wife sitting next to you.