Thursday, February 05, 2009

Talking in Davening (this means YOU)

MUSICAL NOTE by Cantor Sherwood Goffin

(Excerpted from “Praying With Fire,” Rabbi H. Kleinman)

There is a concept that those who do not demonstrate the proper esteem for items from which they derive benefit will at some point lose access to that benefit (Brachot 62b). The same concept applies to one who talks during Chazarat HaShatz – one loses the benefit of that which he fails to honor. His act displays a great disrespect for prayer and disregard for its efficacy, and thus, loses his ability to reach Hashem through prayer. It is for this reason that “the sin is too great to bear.” (Shulchan Aruch, 124:7).

In truth, once one understands the implications of conversation during Chazarat HaShatz, there can be no choice other than maintaining a respectful silence. By choosing our prayer, above whatever distractions present themselves around us, we preserve the most valuable asset we have – our personal connection with our Creator.



Garnel Ironheart said...

Kol hakavod.

micha said...

My personal problem stems from the fact that I can't go cold turkey on talking. I have, thank G-d, 4 boys between the age of 12 and 16, who (also, thank G-d) seem more inclined to be "doers" rather than academics. Not to mention occasionally bringing a 5th son who is 10, but a Downs 10. If I don't speak, chaos ensues.

I'm pretty sure that that kind of talking -- while annoying to those around us -- is mutar. It's on topic, for the sake of tefillah, and less annoying than the aforementioned chaos.

However, once I lost the habit of just plain not saying anything but tefillah, I find it difficult to keep my speech down to the pragmatic. My kids ask questions. A chiddush or question comes to mind and...

Anyone have practical advice?


micha said...

RARRakeffet is currently discussing women's issues and feminism in his Sunday shiur.

One recurring theme is that part of the reason why women want their own prayer groups is that the main shul lacks a feeling of qedushah -- too much talking. Why not go off on their own, just a group of women interested in some spiritual time with their Creator?

(RARR's preference is that we quiet down the shul... In his opinion, WPG aren't a matter for a rabbi to quit over, but if you could finesse avoiding it, better.)


thanbo said...

I'm not upset about parents talking to their kids - that's necessary. It's the two grey-hairs from the shul board who sit together and talk about business or life or whatever all through davening.

Yavneh is mostly a pretty non-talky shul, but these guys should know they set an example. So should I, of course, and come to shul on time, but it's easier to complain about others than to change oneself.