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Mar 24, 2009

The awkward clap

What is the appropriate response by the public at the end of a speech? A great speech let's say. Oftentimes the crowd will clap.

Somehow, somewhy, that never feels right at a frum event. And I think most people feel it as well, but don't know what else to do.

How many times have you gone to a bar mitzva or a wedding or some other frum event - at the end of a speech, the crowd hesitates, and there is a smattering of clapping, most of it out of sync as people clap without knowing that that is what they should be doing but don't know what else to do. Kind of an awkward clap.

Really all you want to do, all that feels right perhaps, is to scream out "shkoyach!" and maybe knock down another l'chayim or two...

Why does it feel so wrong to clap as a response at a frum event/speech? What do you think is the right crowd reaction?

Am I just out of my mind?


  1. I have often wondered the same thing myself, being at shul/school dinners etc., when the people are supposed to clap when the speaker says something good. I think the reason why they don't is due to "chukos hagoyim", so we don't want to copy them. But yes, the "shkoyach" is probably more appropriate.

  2. "write" should be "right".

  3. Rafi not G.

    I think it is do with a feeling that it is wrong to applaud the person of the speaker as he is but the delivery channel of wisdom. Like Torah is too great to be applauded by us and rhetoric skill is too unimportant.

  4. nice thought Rafi. perhaps.

    anon - I don't think chukas hagoyim is the issue, but maybe....

    I think perhaps a more appropriate word to be used in this post, rather than unconfident, would be "awkward"...

  5. If the speech is given on Shabbos so then it is forbidden to clap. Since people on shabbos dont clap so they dont want to do it during the week. As you there is a lot of ignorance in the frum wrold and people have numerous chumras they have no basis. Many people do not understand when to tobe machmir and when to be mekal. The general rule is by doraisas we tend to be strigent and by drabbonan there is more room to be makel. Then of course you have the person who is a kal and when he sees someone who says you can be mekal he just takes it without weighing all the different opinions. Thanks for letting me sound off.


  6. Rafi not G - I think that is the reason we were given for not clapping for a Dvar Torah. I'm not sure it follows for other speeches/events/etc.

    My theory is that people are so used to not clapping after a (Torah) speech, that it simply carries over into other walks of life.

  7. I think an apropriate response is either yasher koach or to break out in a song like 'venizkeh lirot banim u'vnei banim oskim batora' or 'torat hashem temima'
    Just my 2 cents.


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