web analytics
October 13, 2015 / 30 Tishri, 5776
At a Glance
Sponsored Post

Trees In Shul


Question: Is it proper to decorate a shul with trees?

Answer: The Rema (Orach Chayim 494:2) rules that common custom is to have grass spread in shul on Shavuot to recall and symbolize the Divine Revelation of the Torah on Mount Sinai. The Mishnah Berurah (494:9, 10) cites the Magen Avraham who mentions a custom to place trees in shul to symbolize the fact that, according to tradition, fruit of trees are judged on Shavuot. The Mishnah Berurah, however, also cites the Vilna Gaon who opposed this custom, arguing that it mimicked the gentile practice of using trees as decorations on Christmas.

What about grass? Was the Vilna Gaon opposed to that as well? Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Responsa V’aleihu Lo Yibol, p.184 siman 289) argued that the Vilna Goan only opposed decorating shul with trees. This would make the Vilna Gaon consistent with the Rema who only mentions the custom to decorate shul with grass, not with trees.

The Vilna Gaon’s position may be based on the biblical prohibition against placing trees in the Beit Hamikdash. Since a shul is considered a mikdash me’at, the Vilna Gaon extended the prohibition to shuls as well.

About the Author: Rabbi Cohen, a Jerusalem Prize recipient, is the author of eight sefarim on Jewish law. His latest, “Jewish Prayer the Right Way” (Urim Publications), is available at Amazon.com and select Judaica stores.

If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Trees In Shul”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Terrorist on Malchei Yisrael St., Jerusalem
Breaking: 3 Killed in Mass Casualty Terror Attacks in Jerusalem

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/halacha-hashkafa/trees-in-shul/2013/12/26/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: