The Matzav Shmoooze: A Machaah Against A Bizayon

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text-messagingDear Readers,

If you had a meeting with the President would you text on your phone while talking to him? Definitely not when talking to the Kings of kings, HaKadosh Baruch Hu.

It is “normal” now to walk into a shul and see people texting oblivious to where they are and who they are in front of? This must stop! We must protest! This is an issue that exists unfortunately in many shuls. It is a disgrace that we need Gedolei Yisrael to enact decrees to remind us that we are speaking to Hashem when we are in shul! Do you know of any person who would text in the middle of a very important business meeting? While we are davening to Hashem it is a much bigger “business deal” and we must treat it as such. We should take advantage of these opportunities when the Shaarei Shomayim are open! Open your eyes and your heart not your cell phone. We must understand the kedusha of a shul. Davening in a Shul is so important that even if there is no minyan anymore in Shul, one should daven alone in the Shul rather than alone in his own home (unless at home there is a minyan).

The Pasuk (Amos 4:12) states “HeKon LiKra’as Elokecha Yisroel- Prepare yourself [when you go to] greet Hashem”. Chazal (Shabbos 10b) learn from this Pasuk that when one davens [to Hashem] he/she must act as if they are standing in front of a king and talking to him with trepidation and awe. The Chasidim HaRishonim used to prepare an entire hour before the beginning of davening and their talking to Hashem. We are fortunate to be granted a meeting with the King [of kings], three times daily, every single day of our lives! We must realize the awesomeness of this opportunity, and not take it for granted. One who talks during Chazaras HaShatz is a sinner, and this sin is too great for any individual to bear, maybe the same applies to texting? (This is the one and only place the Shulchan Aruch uses such language regarding not keeping a Halacha.) If one will talk in Shul, it is better for him/her to not come in the first place (Kaf HaChaim Siman 151:8 and Chida in Sefer Pesach Einayim); maybe this also applies to someone who is texting during Davening? Here is something that should terrify us: One who talks during davening has no portion in Olam Haba, the world to come. (Sefer M’Am Loez Parshas Bamidbar), and what about someone who ignores Chazaras hashatz by texting?

As we approach Rosh Hashanah and eventually Yom Kippur and we are being judged, how much more so to establish an end to this! These are my words of protest for kavod haTorah. My bracha to everyone and to myself is that we should be zoche to win over our yetzer hara and to be competent to daven to HaKadosh Baruch Hu without any distractions.

A Bothered Yid

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  1. Of coarse this letter writer is right on mark,but the sad part is, countless Yideen will disregard it. This sick machla is an addiction of the highest order.
    I believe people that are mevazeh the Shechina this way , are evil

  2. Exactly my feelings. This texting is being done by many different types of yidden. From Young Israel’s to Shtibels. I have seen it myself many times. It bothers me to know end. it’s not enough that we talk during Chazaras Hashatz, but we now also text. WHAT IS GOING ON? I believe that many people have forgotten who they are davening to and why.

  3. Why do you assume one is texting? Many of us keep the Siddur text on our phones. This is especially useful for Mincha. I also keep a tzedakah ledger on my phone for those times when no pushka is available.

    The underlying problem is talking in shul. People have simply accepted it. Texting is actually less disruptive to the man standing next to you.

    When people stop having side conversations in Hashem’s face, the texting will also go away.

  4. Would you let someone ask you for money while talking to the President?
    Would you turn around to see who just walked in while talking to the President?
    So why do we allow ‘collectors’ in Shul (the White House would not allow it)?
    The answer is that we are talking to the President during ‘Shmoneh Esrai” .
    Before that ‘we are introducing ourselves to the president’ and then its sort of OK.

  5. I am as bothered as you by this. It is unfathomable to me that people would be checking their phones during shul, particularly during chazoras hashatz.

    Nonetheless, we should be dan lekaf zecus (perhaps he’s a doctor and a patient is in trouble). At the same time, we should ask ourselves, Am I concentrating to the best of MY abilities? If, during tefillah, my mind wanders to the workday ahead of me or something that happened at home the night before, is that much better than what the other fellow is doing?

    Still, I agree shuls should post signs, to keep phones out of shul. Our rav speaks out against this behavior regularly.

  6. Heilege Yidden,

    When we are davening to Hashem we must stop and think what we are doing.

    We are talking to the being that:
    1. Created the world
    2. Sustains the world
    3. Crated us and cares for us
    4. Is the only being that has all of the power to do what we need and want
    5. Is out loving father and wants us to be successful

    Melech Malchai Hamalochim! who will bring moshiach and raise us up and give us our beautiful reward. Let us daven with kavana and with love for the Borei Olam

  7. In response to your question: “If you had a meeting with the President would you text on your phone while talking to him?”
    Yes if I had three meetings with him day in and day out, without question I would be texting.
    (Im not saying it is right to, but your analogy fails)

  8. Well said! I have to say I’m guilty of this practice myself . I try to be aware of this and will really make a concerted effort to stop myself . Thank you again.

  9. To CJ Srullowitz – There aren’t 15 doctors in every shul, there is a ending point to: Lekaf Zechut

    Good Shabbos!

  10. #9
    You simply have zero semlence of what Standing before the Creator of the universe means! The analogy is not just 3x a day before the president. Its more If you were standing & pleading for your life welfare heaqlth for yourself & family before a judge you sure darn wouldnt be texting then!!!
    think about it that way & you wont have trouble keeping your gadgets CLOSED!
    It wouldnt hurt to study a little musser on the subject either to stregnthen your awareness.
    And I would like to let you know that since I started SHUTTING MY PAHONE during Davening I have seen AAMAZING YESHUOS in things Ihave been Davening for a while. Hatzlacha!

  11. I see it in my shul too and it pains me…

    The Rabbonim need to constantly speak about it.

    Those who are addicted do not realize the extent of their addiction. We need a campaign to make them more aware…

  12. #6 You bring a great point. In certain minyonim there are men, fathers and zaides that stand bin the front of Shul and spend nearly the entire time facing backwards just looking at everyone… I wonder if they are aware. Do they think they have a responsibility to watch everyone? It bothers me. Do they think they are some sort of sentry?
    And yes, whenever the door opens, whether in a shiur or during davening, a scattered group of heads immediately turn. “Who’s that coming in?”
    So to all those out there, mind your own business i. e. daven. Stop being so concerned about others and concentrate on your own hishtadluss.

  13. Agree with Yankel. If I met with the president for 45 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the afternoon, and 15 minutes at night, I would likely not take it as seriously as if I have a once in a lifetime meeting. When I am in meetings at work, I am constantly testing/emailing. Maybe if davening were a little more interesting, and not the same thing day-in and day-out, I would not feel the need to text. Fact of the matter is, davening is tedious.

    Also, if you are texting, you are likely not talking, so I think we should encourage texting, then there will be no talking in shul.

  14. To comment #9. I have once before ever written on this site. But why Matzav chose to publish your remark which reeks is unfathomable to me.
    But a machoa is needed (be it only for myself to strengthen me when such words are read)

    Think of this…If you were standing in front of a king who has life and death in his hand even if you were standing in front of him 300 times a day you would not dare do anything disrespectful. Unfortunately you and others who sort of condone this behavior do not actually believe that you are standing in front of Hashem Elokim which means who has the power to do it all. Which was precisely the point the letter writter was trying to gove over.

    Have you ever read any of the books about the presidency? At all? Do you know whaqt it even means? Forget the President how about the CEO of a Fortune 500 company who calls you in to him to have a very important meeting 3 times a day who pays your salary, who gives you a great job, who provides you with income, would you look at your phone while you were talking with hhim privately. maybe instead of responding to this letter off the cuff you will think or learn a little about Omed Lifnei Hamelech. When was the last time you studied the Kitzur or Mechaber or Gemora on Hilchos Tefilla.? Maybe try that before Elul? Maybe? I will not be looking at any more of these comments so answering me back won’t get your frustrations off your chest. Think instead of whomever you need to answer to by Yom Hadin and realize that he is looking at your keystrokes…

    P.S. I have read books about the president and all his advisors from the head of NSA to his cabinet members understand that when meeting with the president privately the disgrace of a cell phone. And the reason given is the POWER THAT THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT PRESENTS. Even if the President himself is a lowlife. (Mark Twain “The presidency of any country is always awe-inspiring regardless of who the current occupant is and whether it is in Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe, or Latin America.Any haughty person who does not feel honored or privileged to meet or be introduced to his President or a visiting Chief of State is not being truthful or has an exaggerated sense of his own importance.

    SO Kal Vachomer ben bno shel kal vchomer.

    If Matzav prints stuff like yours which borders on the edge of a…..s if not a…..s itself, I will sadly have to stop reading Matzav which is one of the few things I allow myself. (Maybe just not the comments???)

    Gut Shabbos

  15. Wake up people! The author is talking to those who make a hidden effort to use their phone during davening. To those who need to come up with loopholes… maybe using their app for davening, ok fine! He’s not talking to you! but don’t try to rationalize something that is obviously wrong.

  16. Sorry but bad example. If you were the presidents son you probably would be texting, If you had a meeting with him 3 times every single day, you would be texting. Not saying it’s right to text, but your example is far off. I guarantee if people only had to daven once a year or even once a month they would act differently.
    Also the point that people make that they are davening from the phone is far from lechatchila. If one is in a shul and there are ample siddurim he should use a regular siddur. If one is in a situation where he has no choice I understand. I don’t seem to see people sitting in front of their computer and using their phones for emails.

  17. were all looking for zecusim and our tefilios to be answered-
    In our generation one of the greatest zecusim for our tefilahs be heard and listened too-
    just turn OFF the cellphone PERIOD during davening – TRY IT -YOU’L BE PROUD OF YOURSELF

  18. What happens these days with cell phones during Davening? We say to ourselves, Hashem i am not going to talk on the phone i don’t care who it is if its my wife or if it says 911 i promise you i won’t talk during davening I’m just going to look at the caller ID. Now you tell me why is that just as bad as talking on the phone or even worse? When you see this number on your caller ID, your entire Davening just got lost. (the person might as well take off his Tefillin & go home) For the rest of davening you are all worried what could my wife want from me? Is it good or bad? Maybe i just lost a big chance of a business deal. I f you don’t recognize the caller ID your always thinking who could it be? Is it good or bad? & then your hands are shaking for the rest of davening. PROBLEM: we don’t realize who we are standing in front of & that he sees you looking at your cell phone at the EXACT SAME time that you are davening to Hashem. If you keep you cell phone in the car until you come back, Hashem will hear & appreciate your Davening much much more.

  19. Along the same lines, I do believe that the rise in infant deaths in overheated vehicles comes from the same problem, that we are DISTRACTED and not staying on task due to cell phones. We aren’t paying attention to each other and even worse, to Hashem during davening.

  20. #14 I never said it was right, all I said was the analogy was flawed.

    #18 there is no need to read, in the 21st century picturs are readily available, many of his advisors/aides are texting and why woudnt they be

  21. As important as this issue is, if there is to be any change it would be more worthwhile to offer inspiration about tefilla than to yell against smartphones. The anti smartphones during davening campaign has been tried and failed because the underlying problem is a lack of appreciation for davening.

  22. We need to realize that we are caught up in this surface level issues while ignoring all of the more serious deeper level emotional issues. If we properly addressed those issues Wed know why so many have gone off the derech. Time to institute professional counseling into all of our schools. Why do we accept lower standards than public schools who all have social and guidance counselors!

  23. You know, someone writes an article that points out a major downside of technology today and how it affects ehrliche yidden, and so many people write nasty responses. Why does the author get such negative feedback? If it applies to you, then take it to heart and improve. If not, just leave it alone. IMHO.

  24. Talking in shul is better then texting. Firstly the person knows he is doing something wrong. Texting people think is totally normal. The next generation who watched their dad texting flipping through emails now do this as well and dont even answer amen to anything anymore. They text during shma which most people wouldnt jave the chutzpah yet to talk during that. Also peolle are even texting in shmone esrah. I give a daf yomi. 20 Minutes of the time people are not even learning just texting. The rabbonm should start taking a stronger stance and kick people out for this

  25. To the ignorant commentators who claim “be dan likaf zchus”, it doesn’t apply over here! You are misguided selfish sinners! Why even bother coming to Shul? Since you’re so important that even G-d can’t interupt you, I’m sure you can stay home! If you look at who’s playing with their cell phones during Davening, you will see they are almost always misrable losers who have nothing in life! Basically Schmucks! In our Shul, our Rav has a ZERO tolerance policy B”H! We had cell phone lockers installed in the hallway OUTSIDE the bais medrash for anyone to use – FREE of Charge! B”H we have have kept our Mikdash Miaat the way its supposed to be! Too bad other Shuls don’t follow suit! They are heading for tragedy R”L!


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