Most of the questions seem innocent enough: “Why did we stop there in the Torah leining?”, “Why did Sam get Maftir, does he have a Yahrzeit?”, but the art of being a Monday Morning Gabbai (MMG) can start to cross red lines. Of course the second guessing doesn’t wait to Monday or even Sunday. It usually starts right after davening and sometimes it’s done in real time, even with our Twitter and Facebook feeds turned off for Shabbos.
On one hand it’s good for the members to pay attention to the service, and any halachic related question is certainly worth asking. On Parshas Zachor, we have an extra reading after Mussaf for women who couldn’t make it for the Shacharis leining. There was a slight switch in the leining and inquiries as to what happened led to some halachic insights by the Rav.
However some inquiries regarding the Baalei Tefillah and who gets kibbudim, call into question the judgement of the Gabbai. Accountability is normally a healthy thing, but when we’re talking about volunteers, and specifically a job like the Gabbai, which is one of the most difficult in the Shul, we have to be careful, sensitive and appreciative to the person who accepts this role week in and week out. He has to regularly make judgment calls on the spot, and it’s impossible to be perfect, so we need to cut him a little more slack.
We were playing MMG this Shabbos and trying to figure out why a certain protocol was not followed. I’m good friends with the Gabbai and I asked him politely, after davening, what went into the decision. He related the details, which is what we figured, and he even said I could post about it on Shul Politics.
Good Gabbais are hard to come by, so treat yours with the appreciation and respect he deserves.
One thought on “Monday Morning Gabbai”
As a gabbai, I always assumed that most people didn’t pay much attention to who was davening, who got an Aliyah, etc. Knowing that others are paying that close attention, may make me more self conscious and second-guess myself more!
As a corollary, in my shul people often come up to me and remind me that so-and-so had a grandson, or that Michael’s father is visiting, etc. Some people may think that is meddling or checking up on the gabbai, but I don’t mind it at all. There have been a number of times that people have reminded me about something I had forgotten.
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