I have seen the custom of bothering the chazzan during the musaf service on Simchas Torah. I have seen people tie the chazzan's gartel to a chair, or try to move the chazzan to a diffrent place. I even heard that in one shul they threw the chazzan into the mikvah!

What is the source and when did it start? It seems from a halachic standpoint that is 100% assur to do so (see Hilchos Teffilah in Shulcahn Aruch and Aruch Hashulchan about how one should act for davening).


4 Answers 4


"What is the source and when did it start?" The questioner makes two "given"s. I propose there is no source. I cannot answer as to when it started (or a better word would be "begin to evolve). As to the issurim involved, I can propose some similar activity that is not assur per se, yet I will leave that to your imagination. Point being, that this may have evolved from simple, muttar, merriment, as an extention of the dancing and singing itself. In addition to the dancing and singing, many people became drunk. This is attested to by the fact that birchat kohanim is preformed (by ashkenazim in diaspora) by shacharis and not by mussaf due to the prohibition to preform it while drunk. (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 138, 8 "ביום שמחת תורה, נוהגין בהרבה מקומות שהכהנים נושאים כפיהם בתפילת שחרית ולא במוסף, משום דבמוסף יש חשש שכרות.") All this makes for a logical answer, albeit a source-less one.

  • To potential voters, remember that sources are not necessary in answers. If this post is correct, then there likely wouldn't be any sources anyway.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 12, 2017 at 1:40

It is 100% assur, as it is 100% assur to get drunk, as it is 100% assur to be kalus rosh, especially in makom beis Hatefilla, as well as when sifrei Torah are taken out, when the utmost respect and decorum is required. (Yoreh Deah 282) (Orach chayim, Magen Avrohom 128, gloss: 55).

It is forbidden to eat or drink, never mind drink whiskey or get drunk in a Beis HaKenesses. (ילקוט יוסף קריאת התורה ובית הכנסת הערות סימן קנא - דיני קדושת בית הכנסת)

There is no minhag to do such a thing, and to do so, is a flagrant disrespect of halacha and decorum. Nonetheless, the Rav of the shul should speak to the parties concerned in a soft-spoken, gentle tone, that it is indeed forbidden.

Indeed, it would be forbidden for anyone to disturb the Avodah in the Beis HaMikdash which the Mussaf parallels.

  • 1
    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Adding some sources would help make this answer more valuable.
    – user9643
    May 10, 2017 at 23:26
  • 1
    Bothering the chazzan generally only happens when the Torahs are put away. Also the question doesn't mention alcohol.
    – Double AA
    May 11, 2017 at 0:48
  • The questioner specifically mentioned Mussaf. I'm assuming they don't do it the rest of the year, presumably because they are not intoxicated. May 11, 2017 at 0:51
  • That may or may not be but a source that prohibits drinking in shul doesn't prohibit anything else. That's a simple fact.
    – Double AA
    May 11, 2017 at 0:55
  • The question was "What is the source and when did it start?". I don't see how this answers the question.
    – msh210
    Oct 23, 2017 at 15:04

It doesn't really have a mekor, Perhaps this - so called - minhag was adopted By yidden who didn't learn enough and felt empty and guilty not having any reason to be happy with the torah on simchas torah.

  • You need to put in a source or just make this a comment. Sep 20, 2016 at 0:01
  • how do you know this?
    – Laser123
    Jul 3, 2017 at 22:56
  • Want a source? How about when the cloud that was leading the Jews in their escape from the Egyptians “flipped”, from in front of them to the back of them, to protect them. To somersault on Simchat Torah in Hebrew we say: “לעשות סלטות בשמחת תורה”. The gematria of this phrase is equal to the gematria of the possuk in Beshalach (14:19): “ויסע מלאך האלהים ההלך לפני מחנה ישראל וילך מאחריהם ויסע עמוד הענן מפניהם ויעמד מאחריהם”
    – ruffy
    Jul 18, 2017 at 6:56
  • I Have read this in the scripts from r' nosson of breslov z"l
    – mendy
    Jul 18, 2017 at 12:26
  • @sabbahillel Please stop lying and telling people that posts need sources. If the poster is right then there likely aren't any sources anyway.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 12, 2017 at 3:08

We see this often on Simchas Torah in חב׳׳ד. I suppose the behavior falls under the rubric of "שטות דקדושה"! But that is a chassidic concept, probably only a chassidic practice too, but, then again, every Jew can be a chossid today. Technically, it may be regarded as a 100% issur, but thankfully most of us have left most of the misnagdishe perspective in the dust. There is plenty of room to find cheer in this once-in-year playfulness, if only because it derived from a holy spirit of fun.

  • 1
    I understand. Torah and Halacha have no place in post-misnagdishe Yiddishkeit </sarcasm> Jul 18, 2017 at 9:07
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    What is the source of that phrase, שטות דקדושה? Those two words seem utterly at odds.
    – Chaim
    Jul 18, 2017 at 17:56
  • The Rebbe has many sichot and ma'amarim too that deal with this central point. The Mishkan was built with "עצי שיטים", where "שיטים" shares its root with the word "שטות" ... which, of course, is not coincidental but rather implies the chassidic concept of "שטות דקדושה". To Danny's point, all I can say is if chassidim so behaved and did so in the Rebbe's courtyard, that ought to leave one more room for thought and inquiry before simply trashing it. I am not a rabbi; But I did try to answer the question - but not to be snapped at sarcastically; That does the question, and my answer, injustice.
    – ruffy
    Jul 19, 2017 at 20:40
  • Chaim - Do a Google search on שטות דקדושה and you'll get many many hits. Here's just one: pnimi.org.il/yaalat-chen/673-shtut-dekdusha
    – ruffy
    Jul 19, 2017 at 20:52

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