Ethics

For the week ending 24 November 2007 / 14 Kislev 5768

Thinking of the Speaker

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Question: While attending a weekday lecture I am often tempted to make some comment to the person sitting next to me about what we have just heard. Since I got a "dirty look" from the speaker the last time I did so I wonder what indeed is the right thing to do.

Answer: A public speaker makes a great effort to prepare and deliver his talk. Seeing someone more interested in talking to his neighbor than listening to him can be most disturbing. Not only will you be guilty of hurting his feelings, but also you may be compromising his effectiveness in delivering his message.

If you cannot resist the temptation to share your mid-lecture thoughts the best thing to do is to write a note that you can pass to your neighbor. The speaker will generously attribute your writing as an effort to record his words and will not miss a beat in his presentation.

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