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Davening Issues

In our daily obligations of, t’fila, specifically in the Shemonah Esrei, we must be totally focused on the actual davening.  We may not allow any type of distraction to interfere with the proper direction and meaning of the davening.  Before even beginning our t’fila, an atmosphere must be created that is conducive to a serious mood of davening.  That is why the Shulchan Aruch, in several paragraphs, deals with the necessary posture of prayer, distractions, possible physical body disturbances and even appropriate dress.

Walking back and forth like some sort of caged animal distracting others from any necessary concentration is totally inappropriate.  In my own personal experience as a congregational rabbi I have seen the gabboyim of the shul literally march such an individual out of the shul rather than allowing him to pace to and fro during the davening. 

Our total and absolute focus must be in feeling close to Hashem with expressions of love towards Him.  The R’Ma in Shulchan Aruch (¶ 98,1) writes:-“It is forbidden for a person to kiss his little children in the shul, in order to emphasize in his heart that there is no love greater than love of Hashem”.  In commenting on this, the Mishna Brura cites the Sefer Sheloh Hakodesh who criticizes most severely parents who bring very small children to the shul leaving them to run loose uncontrolled as if the shul is a playground.  Only children that are grown to the age of chinuch, of understanding the necessity of t’fila and behavior in the shul, should be brought there; they should be closely supervised by their parents.

The enormous power of community t’fila must be allowed to reach its greatest heights of contemplation.  All of us must make a concerted effort to set aside all aspects of distractions, as outlined by the Shulchan Aruch.



HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Shlit"a
Rosh Beth Din

HaRav Yona Reiss, Shlit"a
Av Beth Din


Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator

Rabbi Levi Mostofsky
Executive Director

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