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Why don’t orthodox Jews clap?

Rafi G from Life in Israel recently wrote about it and its true, orthodox Jews rarely clap at events.

I have been to countless events, simchas, celebrations and never have I heard a good hearty round of applause. I have always wondered if I did start to clap would I be the only one? Or would some other people start clapping with me to make it into one big awkward clap, or will it be just me clapping like a moron.

I think its kind of awkward when after certain speeches no body claps. For instance after a bar or bat mitzvah speech at shul, I think they would feel so much better after a big round of applause. Maybe I am just too progressive but clapping is so much better then a couple of yasher koyachs from the rear of the shul or hall.

{ 32 comments… add one }
  • Veebee March 26, 2009, 9:33 PM

    Oh, please. Silver Spring claps for everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if they clapped at a funeral.

  • nomi March 26, 2009, 10:14 PM

    i don’t know about everyone else, but usually after a speech, we stand up, to show respect.

  • Michal bas Avraham March 26, 2009, 10:25 PM

    I think it gets programmed into people because you’re not really supposed to clap on Shabbos.

  • Mark March 26, 2009, 10:37 PM

    I think it gets programmed into people because you’re not really supposed to clap on Shabbos.

    I never really understood that rule.

  • Veebee March 26, 2009, 10:38 PM

    Why can’t you clap on shabbat?

  • Talmudist March 26, 2009, 11:21 PM

    clapping in general was deemed goyish when the goyim adopted it. the use of toilet paper amongst frum people is a good pircha on this line of thought though.

  • Rentsy March 27, 2009, 12:38 AM


    It’s a Bobov wedding, mitzvah tanz, and EVERYONE IS CLAPPING

    To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, “Thus do I refute thee”

    Also, mitzvah tanz is absolutely beautiful to watch.

  • Frum Satire March 27, 2009, 12:52 AM

    Clapping is enjoyable and makes people feel good and unique so its assur!

  • Anonymous March 27, 2009, 9:04 AM

    you dudes have clearly never been to Mayanot Shul in Yerushalayim. They clap for everything, and especially during davening.

  • Phil March 27, 2009, 9:42 AM

    Lubabs clap all the time, especially when drinking is invloved (isn’t that always?).

    I remember seeing the Rebbe clap pretty hard during Hakafos and other occasions too.

  • Double M March 27, 2009, 10:23 AM

    I remember a certain rav went out of his way to explain that it is permitted to clap on Shabbat and the bet kaneset starting to clap after being told it’s permitted. Something along the lines of… o so we didn’t clap before because? …

  • Ken Lane March 27, 2009, 12:21 PM

    A lot of the time, I’ve experienced non-clappers because they don’t want to give the person applause because it was actually HaShem’s work; not the person. I don’t know how to clap to HaShem. Clap to the East?

  • Bub March 27, 2009, 12:34 PM

    Yea, I’m wondering where you’re coming from with this one. Sure, a Bar Mitzvah speech is one thing. Shul’s not really a “clapping” venue. But there’s been clapping abound at most simchas, dinners, etc that I’ve been at.

  • Ken Lane March 27, 2009, 12:40 PM

    Oh, yeah. The Breslover Na Nachs clap every chance they get!

  • Moshe March 27, 2009, 12:43 PM

    From my understanding making a clap or series of beats on shabbat is like building in that you are building a song/beat in a way and that is not allowed on Shabbat.

  • Danica March 27, 2009, 12:51 PM

    I agree with Moshe. That is the reasoning I was given, that is also why you can’t clap your hands on a table (as in during benching), because that is creating music/beat (just the table is the percussive instrument, not a drum).

  • Veebee March 27, 2009, 1:57 PM

    Moshe – are you kidding me? Are we allowed to breath? We release C02 into the environment which helps “build” a plant.

  • Moshe March 27, 2009, 2:47 PM

    You can breathe but you can’t spill any liquids on the ground on Shabbat as it may cause a seed to sprout that may be buried in the dirt…

  • Frum Satire March 27, 2009, 3:07 PM

    I was one time in Goldbergers shul in Baltimore and some guy said to me that its assur to clap on shabbos and he looked pissed – because everyone was clapping.

  • Mikeinmidwood March 27, 2009, 5:12 PM

    What about snapping on shabbos, is that not the same?

  • HannaH March 27, 2009, 6:11 PM

    my school is kind of strange this way, but after a fellow student speaks, or really just anyone who isnt a rabbi -everyone will clap/cheer/ bang the table or something like that
    but if a rabbi/honored guest speaks everyone just stands up at the end and starts talking amongst themselfs while slowly making thier way out the door.

  • Steve Klapper March 28, 2009, 10:01 AM

    Somebody confused clapping with getting the clap.

  • Hornball March 28, 2009, 9:39 PM

    HannaH, who would want to bang a table??? That’s too much, even for me

  • Double M March 29, 2009, 12:11 AM

    19) Heshy if you want I can get him back for you. over pesach I can bring in some rice and hot air popcorn and eat it between mincha and arvit.

  • Double M March 29, 2009, 12:13 AM

    Sorry took out part of it by accident something about his synagogue and Shabbat… ah him not suppose to be funny after midnight never mind.

  • Anonymous March 29, 2009, 12:45 AM

    in uman (not nanach), during really really serious rosh hashana chazaras hashatz, they burst into serious applause twice. It was quite hilarious if you didn’t know it was coming.

  • shua March 29, 2009, 12:16 PM

    that business with clapping being building sounds ridiculous to me. you’re not actually creating anything. sound like your Rabbi misunderstood the issue.

    the logic as i understand it is that it’s like playing musical instruments. although technically permitted, the Sages prohibited playing musical instruments on Shabbat because the instrument might break and we’d fix it without remembering that that’s forbidden (that is because of “building”). those who would forbid clapping feel it’s a mechanical way of making music and therefore falls under the prohibition on musical instruments.

  • Chosid March 29, 2009, 7:16 PM

    Clapping is generally permitted if it’s simcha shel mitzvah. That explains all the clapping during lecha dodi, kedusha, etc.

  • Moshe July 6, 2010, 6:17 PM

    This is an extremely dumb supposition made by an obviously biased frum Jew hater.
    Frum Jews clap when it’s appropriate all the time.
    They also give “Yasher Koach” when appropriate because that is the HIGHER compliment. Yes, Frum Jews can actually inform intelligent words and can do more then just clap.

  • Lazer April 2, 2012, 12:11 PM

    Those who cant tell the difference between hand clapping & “playing musical instruments” should be in a Strait-jacket – this way they can’t do either.

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