For the week ending 9 October 2010 / 30 Tishri 5771

Silence in the Synagogue

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Question: Now that there begins a new year of weekly Shabbat Torah reading in our synagogue, I find myself faced with the dilemma of how to deal with those of my fellow congregants who disturb my ability to hear the reading with their conversing with one another. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: In almost all cases the talking during the reading of the Torah is the result of ignorance that it is strictly forbidden and an insult to the Torah. If your own efforts to impress the seriousness of this behavior upon the offenders proves unsuccessful, you should solicit the aid of your congregational rabbi to dedicate part of a sermon to this issue from time to time. The message will hopefully get through to the satisfaction of all concerned.

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