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Guide to the sit-down shuckel

yeshiva-learningThe sit down shuckel is kind of like wearing a hat, in that it takes commitment. I myself have never felt the need nor had the guts to rock the sit down shuckel, mostly because shuckling for me has always been due to leg cramps and the feeling that I am going to fall asleep standing up, in other words shuckling keeps me on my toes, no I never spoke about this before.

The sit down shuckel is much different than the stand up shuckel, because everyone does the stand up shuckel to some degree, whether it be a violent forward aft, side to side sway or the shifting from one leg to another everyone shuckels at some point during their standing and davening career, this is not so when it comes to the sit down shuckel, sit down shuckels are only done by a small segment of the frum population while people who arent even frum sometimes bust out the stand up shuckel.

For the small segment of the population who does the sit down shuckel, mainly comprised of fresh off the boat Baalei Teshuva, very yeshivish people and modern orthodox kids during their first two weeks home from Israel, there are several different types of sit down shuckels.

Table Push off: The table push off takes the pressure off the abdomen and allows for easy sit down shuckels, common issues arise when you are into something real good and need a faster paced shuckel. The table push allows for a very methodical shuckel, and is commonly done while looking into the distance and not actually concentrating on the task at hand.

Itchy Thighs: This sit down shuckel is a forward aft style shuckel that is combined with rubbing your hands on your thighs to get the full body workout. I call it the itchy thighs shuckel, because if you had no idea what was flying you would think the person had itchy thighs.

The hand wash: You must be very yeshivish to do the hand wash sit down shuckel, this is done at a very slow pace and as the person shuckels back and forth they look as if they are ring their hands together to lather up soap, one bucher told me they refer to it as air washing similar to air guitar, only more ridiculous. The hand wash is traditionally done in situations where the person shuckling is giving a shiur or chabura.

Knee grasp: As if to steady themselves these shucklers grab their knees as they move forward and backwards. These shuckels tend be of quicker motion and at a time when the person has a well used siddur that stays open to the place.

Table grab side to side: This shuckel is only for experts in the shuckling field, seriously it takes a lot of know how to pull this off correctly. The shuckler places both hands on the edge of the table and shuckels side to side rather then back and forth.

Violent then pause: Another complex shuckel made for yeshivish folks, you mjust move forward with violent force and upon reaching the end of the shuckel you must pause momentarily, stand up people also do this and I have no idea why, it messes with my rhythm.

Traditional sit down:
Just move forward and aft slowly but with timed shuckels and with smoothness. Many BTs and YU kids do this without venturing into more complex sit down shuckels, but you have got to have respect for anyone that does a sit down shuckel.

Table slide: The table slide is similar to that of the itchy thighs shuckel in that the shuckeler will slide his hands along the table while going back and forth, just another way to get that upper body workout in during second seder.

Other moves that can be combined with a sit down shuckel: Fist bumps, thumb dips, the pointing finger (denoting that something is assur) the lip curl (for hard gemaras) and the restless leg syndrome that yeshiva guys love to do while learning.

{ 20 comments… add one }
  • Veebee June 14, 2009, 11:34 PM

    This post would have been better in video format.

  • Mikeinmidwood June 15, 2009, 12:19 AM

    Yeah make a video

  • bitterwater June 15, 2009, 1:13 AM

    funny how the restless leg syndrome is not only limited to learning and davening.

  • cuz moishe pipik June 15, 2009, 7:57 AM

    what about the beard stroke twist shuckel? or the Payius (sp) twirl shuckel? I believe the Beard Stroke Shuckel is a good way for the beard holder to clean out an excess chullent, bobka or gifilte fish.

  • Phil June 15, 2009, 8:29 AM

    Restless leg people drive me up the wall. Ever sit on a shul bench and it starts vibrating in middle of davening? I sometimes feel like kicking the guy’s feet.

  • Hornball June 15, 2009, 11:50 AM

    I shuckel vertically.

  • Alkolpanim June 15, 2009, 1:06 PM

    Hesh. There’s a Gemara in Brachos that states that if shuckling ‘shters’ ones davening, it shouldn’t be done. Basically this shuckling business doesn’t automatically give someone more regesh when they daven. The Gemara goes on to describe how we’re supposed to bow, etc. Lemme tell you, people are getting all wrong ALL the time. Oh. and how ’bout those guys that say amen to early and overpower the chazan? ex. Melech Mehulaaaaaall Bat-AMEN!!!!

  • someone June 15, 2009, 2:51 PM

    table grab **fav

  • Hornball June 15, 2009, 4:14 PM


    I don’t recall such a Gemorah in Brochos, where is it?

  • LonelyMan June 15, 2009, 5:03 PM

    I’m still waiting for the ab crunch shuckle. Frummies are usually all out of shape and need to find a way to kill two birds with one stone. Perhaps an incline bench and sefer holder all in one?

  • Frum Satire June 15, 2009, 6:07 PM

    Imagine seeing a new frummy exercise machine machine made of shtenders featured on late night infomercials featuring chuck norris with a black velvet yarmulke.

  • Anonymous June 15, 2009, 8:08 PM

    sounds the same as stand up. both just go back and forth.

  • Michal bas Avraham June 15, 2009, 9:56 PM

    I remember when I started my conversion. I saw this kid shuckeling when he would be sitting down. I thought he was “special”. That’s how it really looks.

  • bitterwater June 15, 2009, 11:38 PM

    I thought he was special. Thats how it really looks.

    Or…. maybe it just looks like he really is consumed with what he is doing at the moment.

    Most of the people that shuckle while sitting do it with fervor and passion. Watching can be quite entertaining at times.

  • Jesmi June 16, 2009, 1:44 AM

    I think I would put them into the violent spin cycle shuckel. They also tend to shake their fists as if you just cut them off on the ever famous Brooklyn Bridge off ramp.

  • Chris_B June 16, 2009, 12:43 PM

    I dont fall into one of those categories, but I do sway while davening when seated, back and forth mainly.

  • yeshiva dude June 16, 2009, 2:24 PM


    Most of these shuckles come naturally for the average yeshiva bochur without having to think about what you’re doing, so I don’t know what your talking about that it distracts your davening. In fact, bitterwater is absolutely right, the leg syndrome shuckle is done in many different settings especially when everyone is nervous like before a big test.

    frum satire,

    What did you do, learn in BMG and micro analyze their movements for the last few months?

  • Frum Satire June 16, 2009, 2:48 PM

    I used to learn at BMG and I learnt in Lakewood East as well – man do you not realize where I know my shiz from.

  • UnTel October 26, 2009, 8:28 AM

    My grandfather broke me of the nervous leg thing when I was a kid. He said that it was distracting to the other daveners, and not respectful to Hashem. I know that it bugs me when I interview someone to have them doing it.

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