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Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
An Audacious Stranger Walking Around Hashem's Living Room

I won't easily forget the day many years ago right after having come to Israel. We needed something repaired or installed and called a repairman. About an hour later I heard loud talking in he stairwell followed by banging on the door. I opened the door and before I had a chance to say anything, a fellow comes storming in talking loudly on his cellphone without even acknowledging me. He then proceeded to pace around our living room in loud and animated conversation with the person on the other end of the line. Taken aback I tried to get his attention, but he angrily waved me off hinting annoyed that I was interrupting his very important conversation despite being an unintroduced stranger wandering around my living room making a racquet.

Sounds funny but why do we understand it more when the home is a shul, we are the repairman, and the homeowner is the King of all kings? Forget about in middle of davening, which we have by and large finally figured out is an unacceptable Chilul Hashem, but what gives us the right to walk into a shul or Bais Medrash talking on a phone, ever? Is it our house? If we are there is this what we were invited for? Do all the people learning or davening need to here our personal problems?

It is said that the great gedolim understood B'Ruach HaKodesh that the devastating massacres of Tach V'Tat were a punishment for talking in Shul. Based on this they were Misaken a special Mi Shebeirach, for those who do not talk in Shul, which can be found after Yikum Purkan in many siddurim.

In the height of the intifada I once suggested to the son of one of the prominent Rabanim in Yerushalayim that the Shul put a metal detector with a guard a the door to prevent security issues. He looked at like I was off the wall. I explained that these detectors would not be looking for guns and bombs but rather cellphones that can be the ultimate cause of the greatest churban possible.

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Visitor Comments: 1

YH, 2011-03-15 17:12:16
"It is said that the great gedolim understood B'Ruach HaKodesh ... Based on this they were Misaken ..."

Gedolim? They? It was the Tosfos Yom Tov who asked in a Shailas Chalom as you wrote in your biography section.

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