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I have noticed that some people are visibly happy when, for whatever reason, tachanun is omitted. I have noticed other people become religiously indignant at those who are rejoicing.

Who is right?

(On the one hand, it seems wrong to rejoice for being exempt from a prayer, but on the other hand, the exemption was created for a reason - perhaps we can be happy about not saying it if we aren't supposed to be saying it?)

  • It is rarely right to become religiously indignant at others. – Double AA Aug 8 '14 at 3:51
  • @DoubleAA I was actually recently wondering about this - the Mishna Berura infrequently says not to protest when people do something wrong - does that mean every other case where he doesn't say, you should? – Y     e     z Aug 8 '14 at 3:54
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    When we skip Tachanun, isn't it usually for a happy sort of reason (ex: Shabbat, Rosh Hodesh, Hanukkah, Purim, Nisan, Brit Milah, Bar Mitzvah, a wedding, by some people Thanksgiving) so be happy for the root cause (the holiday), not for the effect (skipping this particular prayer). Some exceptions: skipping it on Tisha B'Av and in a house of mourning. If someone is happy about skipping it in those two cases, they are a jerk. – Mike Aug 8 '14 at 4:13
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    A famous rabbi (I forget who) once said, "If non-Jews knew the joy that Jews have when it is announced there is no tachanun that day, they would all convert immediately." – Charles Koppelman Aug 8 '14 at 16:40
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    I'm only happy when there's no tachanun on a Monday or a Thursday. I don't know how the rest of the minyan does it, but I simply can't say all of the long-form tachanun in 55 seconds. – Jake Aug 20 '14 at 9:32
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I don't think that either side is "right", here.

Your statement "perhaps we can be happy about not saying it if we aren't supposed to be saying it?" is not entirely correct. Tachanun is ommitted on sad occasions as well as happy ones. For example, Tachanun is ommitted on Tish'a B'av as well as in the house of mourners. Neither occasion is one to rejoice.

Granted, that the majority of the reasons for eliminating Tachanun are happy occasions. Chaba"d adds additional days that are unlisted in a Siddur like Art Scroll, such as the day one of the Rebbe's (don't recall which) was freed from prison, and many other days. I'm not Chaba"d, but when I attend a Chaba"d minyan on one of the days when Tachanun is ommitted, I am happy, but not specifically because Tachanun is ommitted, rather because of the day itself.

Having said this, I recall some time ago someone published in a local Jewish paper a "No Tachanun" list for the upcoming week. This was a list of neighborhood minyanim where there was a brit or chatan present in that minyan so that people could avoid saying Tachanun.

I don't agree with this strategy. There's a reason for saying Tachanun as well as a reason for eliminating it. It's not meant to be a "burden" - for that matter, no part of davening should be a "burden", as Pirkei Avot 2:18 1 indicates. If you want to attend the minyan for the joy of the Chatan or brit or because you like the shul, people, rav, etc., by all means go there. But to seek a minyan specifically for the reason of not saying Tachanun, I believe is wrong.

Regardless, if someone really feels a need to correct someone's behavior on this, there is a polite way, time and place to do this without showing indignance to another.

  • I never said you should show your indignation. At least not to the violator. – Y     e     z Aug 8 '14 at 20:33
  • @YEZ - perhaps I misinterpreted your intent in the 1st paragraph of your question. It DOES have the term "indignant". – DanF Aug 18 '14 at 19:20
  • It does, but indignation can be a feeling, doesn't have to be displayed. As an aside, I did not upvote because I don't think the fact that sometimes tachanun is omitted for other reasons shows that when it is omitted for happy reasons that the omission itself is not by nature happy. – Y     e     z Aug 18 '14 at 19:23
  • @YEZ - OK, I understand you now. "when it is omitted for happy reasons that the omission itself is not by nature happy." - Understood, and I'm also uncertain if I agree or disagree with this. I need to digest this concept. – DanF Aug 20 '14 at 2:35

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