Rav Chaim Kanievski: We Were Banished From Shuls Because Our Phones Were On

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BNEI BRAK (VINnews) — In a letter written Monday regarding the expected reopening of Shuls in Israel this week, Rav Chaim Kanievski wrote that we need “to establish a permanent rule (Takkanah Kevu’ah) that all telephones should be off during the entire period of the prayers and it is prohibited to enter the shul and pray with a telephone which is not shut off. The Gabaim should exhort and rouse people to recognize the enormity of the transgression and the disrespect to shuls and batei midrash”

At the beginning of his letter Rav Chaim writes that “for a number of weeks we have been banished from our shuls and batei midrash like slaves who come to pour a cup for their masters and the cup is poured on their faces, and it appears that this is a sign from heaven that people sinned and belittled the sanctity of the shuls by praying with their telephones on and talking on them. This is a tremendous disrespect to the prayers and the sanctity of the shul which our fathers could never have imagined. It is against the halacha in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 151) and the Zohar in Vayakhel teaches terrifying things about such behavior.”

Rav Chaim concludes by saying that in the merit of accepting upon ourselves this rule, “Hashem will return us swiftly to His service in shuls and batei midrash and will accede to our prayers with love and willingness.”

Rabbi Gershon Edelstein added his signature to Rav Chaim’s letter and added that “we should also be careful not to speak idle talk in our shuls.”

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39 COMMENTS

  1. before any wise guy comments about the letter of maran hagoan hatzadik rav chaim think carefully what you say hes a great tzadik and gadol hador!

    • I see his signature, not that he wrote the letter. He signs lots of things. People should leave him alone with these communal things as frankly more and more people just roll their eyes when they see his name attributed to something. It is a bizayon that people bother him with this stuff. The people bringing him these letters should really think carefully.

      This is nothing to say about whether the admonishment is correct or not.

  2. we should listen to the words of our generations gadol hador and our urim v’tumim., and not chas vasholom comment negativly about the words of Rav Chaim shlita

  3. I don’t understand, If all the Nationalities are suffering from Corona because of us Yidden, than why do we purposefully Exclude the Goyishe victims from our Teffilos for Refuah Shleimo. We should feel guilty towards them?

    • Where does it say that the “Nationalities are suffering from Corona because of us Yidden”? You got this backwards. The point is why we were not spared the suffering just because the nationalities deserve it for their anti-Semitism and other crimes.

  4. That’s strange because I don’t bring my phone into a Shul and I was still locked out! I believe Hashem is thrilled with our level of avodah in Shul. It seems to me that now He wants us to bring that same wonderful avodah into our homes to refine there too through Torah learning, davening and giving tzedakah.

    • Apparently and unfortunately your zchus of not bringing your phone into shul couldn’t save the entire klal. Many many phones that people carry are totally a ‘Mukim Ehrva’. Not intentionally but unintentionally

    • The Talmud, masechet Chullin, pages 92a-b, gives three reasons why God does -not- destroy the world. One of those conditions is proudly violated today by so many nations. Food for thought.

  5. I do not understand how anybody can take two totally unrelated things (phones in shul and a world wide pandemic) and state with certainty that one caused the other.

    • that’s exactly why you should keep ur mouth shut. R chaim is our undisputed gadol and lets obey and respect what he says. You don’t have to understand everything in life. There are many rules in torah that we don’t neceserily understand…but we follow them anyway bc they are from the aibeshter. All the best

  6. I can’t believe some of the comments written here. Not only because a Godol Hador is speaking, but some comments seem to be suggesting that there can only be one reason why this pandemic and it’s results happened. We are not nevim. No one is suggesting the true reason or remedy. However, there are two things at play here personal and communal. On the personal level, our job is not to say this is the reason or that is the reason. Every person has to look at the situation and ask himself what he personally needs to improve. However, on the communal level, there are leaders it may be a rov of a congregation or a rov like Rav Chaim or even a parent in a home. Each leader has to address what he feels the klal as a whole needs to be fixed. Obviously, if Rav Chaim mentions cell phones that won’t negate other things that need to be rectified in our society. Someone will ask why were schools closed? Maybe its because we reject students. Someone else will say weddings. Someone else says tznius and the list can continue.

  7. COVID-19 has taught us one thing: there is no end of stupidity people will spout. The cause of the virus has been sheitels, phones, the Internet, too large chassenes, too short skirts etc. etc. If we really believe that everything comes from Heaven – hakol bidei shomayim – the reason is because in shomayim it was decided that a plague should come that would amongst other things kill of many talmidei chachomim, tzaddikei hador, Rebbes, etc. etc. That should teach us something about how talmidei chachomim, tzaddikei hador, Rebbes, etc. etc. are regarded in heaven. And, no, please don’t tell me that they are so special that they were wanted in heaven. If heaven killed them off, it was because heaven didn’t place great value on what they were doing down here.

  8. This new concept of the “2020 era” that everyone has to understaqnd everything otherwise they don’t obey – has gotta go. As Orthodox Jews- Torah observing Jews- we do what were supposed to do and what were told to do – AND WE DONT ASK QUESTIONS. WE DONT HAVE TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. If the gadol hador says something we obey it and follow it – we don’t start questioning him. All the best

  9. How many times do I see people scrolling their phones during hazarah shatz. And then so absorbed in their phone they use it until alienu. I see it all the time. Even people answering calls during tefillah.

  10. I have nothing but contempt for these slobs who will let their telephones ring loudly and intermittently during services, or worse, they will play with their phones during davening. They are just too lazy to turn them off, before they come to the sanctuary. Some Shuls have severe restrictions regarding cell phones, and will fine their members big time. Prior to the late 1990’s, there were no cell phones in Shul, even though they had been on the market, since the 1980’s. It is bad enough that we have to listen to people loudly speaking on their cell phones at a Doctor or a Dentist offices, restaurants, airlines, etc. However, in Shul, that is another story. One time, I actually saw a Russian speaking on his cell phone in front of a Shul on Yom Kippur. When I gave it to that character, he grinned in my face. Another time, on the now defunct airline Air Tran, there was a female passenger seated in front of me, who was yakking so lously on her phone prior to take off, that I couldn’t hear the Captain’s announcements. When I shussed her, she waited until the plane landed and gave me horrible looks. If the flight attendants had been doing their jobs, they could have stopped her bad and illegal behavior sooner.

  11. Where does it say that the “Nationalities are suffering from Corona because of us Yidden”? You got this backwards. The point is why we were not spared the suffering just because the nationalities deserve it for their anti-Semitism and other crimes.

  12. We all managed before mobile phones came along.
    Turn it off and enjoy the peace and quiet and the sense for true FREEDOM.
    You are not free until you turn the phone off.
    Indeed landlines are an interreption as well, so go back 100 years and imagine the peace and the ability to focus people had. If you need to make a call turn it on and then off again
    Why not start a phone diet? Turn it off for half the day or just an hour or two

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