Volume 45 Number 74
                    Produced: Thu Nov 18  6:23:13 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Guest coming late
         [Carl Singer]
Lateness to Shul (7)
         [Ari Trachtenberg, Yehonatan Chipman, David Charlap, Chana
Luntz, Kenneth G Miller, Anonymous2, Ben Katz]
Tal uMatar
         [Michael Mirsky]


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 07:35:17 -0500
Subject: Guest coming late

>This seems to be another not uncommon phenomenon. When I invite guests
>for dinner on Friday evening in the summer, I tell them that I daven at
>such and such a shul at a certain time (quarter of an hour before plag
>haminchah) and therefore expect to eat about an hour after. Is it
>unreasonable to expect that they should therefore either join me in that
>shul or go to another in the neighbourhood which davens at more or less
>the same time rather than one that davens an hour or so later.
> [snip]
>We hear much about the mitsvah of hachnassat orchim - hosting guests -
>are their not any mitsvot that apply to the latter?

Unfortunately, one may need to be more specific as some people "just
don't get it" -- say "We plan to eat at 7:00 PM so the children can
finish at a reasonable hour."

Also it seems that common practice is for the men to daven at the host's
shule if time and distance are an issue.

What baffles me is that being on time (to a sumptuous meal or to
davening) is among other things common courtesy either to the host or to
one's fellow congregants -- is this yet another example of a diminished
emphasis or attention to ben adam l'chavayroh.  (Although coming on time
to davening likely involves ben adam l'Makom)

Carl Singer


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 10:28:59 -0500
Subject: Lateness to Shul

I myself am, now, a chronic latecommer to shul, and it's not because I'm
lazy or because I don't value the davening.  When I wake up in the
morning on Shabbat (say at 7am), my first priority is to take care of
the children so that my wife (who has typically been up all night, all
week long, with our 8 week old) can catch up on some sleep.  Maybe mine
is an excuse, but it's one with which I am willing to live.  When I see
a fellow latecommer to shul, I try to likewise give them the benefit of
the doubt.


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 22:48:56 +0200
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

     Just two short and hopefully new points on this thread, on which
people seem to be getting tired:

    According to the halakhah, there is a certain virtue to davening in
shul, apart from that of davening with a minyan.  Shulhan Arukh, Orah
Hayyim 90. 9, states this, based on the gemara.  (see also Rambam,
Hilkhot Tefillah 8.1, who combines the two factors -- tefillah betzibbur
and beit haknesset (public prayer and praying in a synagogue -- each one
of which is an independent mitzvah.

     Mishnah Berurah on the above spot explains that the synagoge has
special sanctity, and that, because it is a fixed place for public
prayer, one's prayer is received there more readily.

     He then adds an interesting caveat about lateness: if one is a
talmid hakham, coming late may constitute a hillul hashem, in which case
it is better that one daven at home.  This seems to imply that an
ordinary person need not worry about this factor.

     I recently wrote an article about some of the of public prayer
vis-a-vis the issue of kavvanah (inner concentration or focus) in
prayer.  This was published on the web site uf www.netivot-shalom.org.il
for Hayyei Sarah, 5765.  I have also written a major study of Pesukei
de-Zimra, which I will be happy to send to anyone interested.  Contact
me off line.

     Are there really synagogues where coming late is not the norm, and
the majority come on time?  Happy are you and happy is your portion!  In
virtually every Orthodox shul I've ever seen, there are usually only a
handful of people present at the beginning of Barukh Sheamar on Shabbat
morning, and even by Shoken Ad or Barkhu, the majority have yet to come.

     Yehonatan Chipman

From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 12:17:32 -0500
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

Martin Stern wrote:
> Ira is absolutely right about accepting and loving one's fellow Jew. The
> problem with latecomers is not their lateness as such but the
> disturbance they tend to cause. I have had the problem of latecomers to
> a weekday shacharit pushing past me to get to an empty seat ... On
> another occasion, a latecomer did not skip the appropriate passages in
> pesukei dezimra but recited some random phrases in a loud voice. ...

It would seem to me that your real problem is people simply having no
concept of derech eretz (common decency).

It is rude and obnoxious to muscle your way past someone in the middle
of saying the Shema or the Amida.  It doesn't matter if you came late or
if you have to go use the bathroom.

Similarly, it is rude to be praying out loud when the rest of the
congregation is at a different point in the service.  It doesn't matter
if you came late or if you're just davening at a different speed.

I have little problem with people being late (as long as they're not so
late that we don't have a minyan in time for Borchu.)  I have a much
greater problem with people being rude and inconsiderate, regardless of
when they arrive.

-- David

From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 22:40:35 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

Martin Stern writes:

>I can't see coming to shul has much value if we do not daven properly.
>As I see things, people seem to consider davenning as some sort of
>mantra recitation which has to be done but should not interfere too
>much with more important things. If we saw it as a chance to
>communicate with HKBH we might take it a little more seriously. The
>main point is to daven and, if going to shul prevents doing so in any
>meaningful manner, it is better to stay at home if one will be less
>disturbed there.
> In the concept of tefillah betsibbur -public prayer - the ikkar
>(primary point) is tefillah (prayer) and the betsibbur (in public) is
>secondary. A shul is not meant to be a social gathering but a place
>where we can gather as a congregation to communicate with HKBH.

When Rav Moshe was asked whether it was better to daven at home with
more kavana [intent or meaning] or b'tzibur [with a congregation] with
less kavana he answered that it was better to daven b'tzibur (Iggeros
Moshe Orech Chaim chelek 3 siman 7).  Part of the reason he gives is
that in our time nobody is considered to have the correct form of kavana
(see Tosphos Brochas 17, Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim siman 70 si'if 3);
partly because he holds that it is a chiyuv [obligation] to daven with a
minyan (even though the language of the Shulchan Aruch is "yishtadel"
[he should try], which would seem to indicate that it is not a chiyuv
but perhaps a form of hidur) and partly because tefila b'tzibur is,
according the gemora, always heard by HKBH, while even for a great man
it is not clear that his tefila is accepted (and Rav Moshe adds that if
it is known that his tefila is not accepted he has not fulfilled the
basic mitzvah of tefila either).

So, at least according to Rav Moshe it would not seem better for the
person running late to stay at home - that way he probably gets no
mitzvos, while coming to shul he gets two mitzvos, that of tefila and
that of minyan, even if it is not the best quality mitzvah.  And the
fact that he might disturb other people's kavana is presumably of less
concern, since because they are halachically deemed not to have proper
kavana anyway, and because they get the mitzvah by being present and
davening with the minyan, all he is doing is preventing them from having
a better fulfilment.

  And, although this may be something of a controversial derivation from
what he has written (but it does seem to me to inexorably flow), he (and
Tosphos and the Shulchan Aruch) almost do seem to be suggesting that
davening is indeed today some sort of mantra  because we are not on a
level at which we are capable of producing davening which contains true
kavana, and that is precisely why it needs to be b'tzibur, because a
mantra at home does not amount to anything, but  a mantra in shul HKBH
has promised does.

Chana Luntz

From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 2004 09:06:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

In MJ 45:61, Martin Stern wrote <<< The main point is to daven and, if
going to shul prevents doing so in any meaningful manner, it is better
to stay at home if one will be less disturbed there. >>>

Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe, Orach Chaim 3:7) would not agree with

He wrote "A person who feels that when he davens alone, he can direct
his heart to heaven better than when he is with the minyan. What should
he do? Is davening with the minyan preferable, or is having more kavana
(attention to the prayers) preferable? In my humble opinion, if he will
have the minimally required amount of kavana even with the minyan, then
it is better to daven with them, even if he won't have an optimal amount
of kavana..."

He gives several reasons for this:

1) Minyan is a requirement, not merely a preference.

2) Individual prayer has no guarantee of acceptance, but Hashem will
always listen to the congregation.

3) There's no guarantee that he really will have more kavana staying

4) Even if he does have more kavana alone, and less with the minyan, the
difference is negligible, because no one nowadays really has proper
kavana anyway.

5) Even if, on occassion, his prayer really is better without a minyan,
there's a danger that missing minyan will become a habit.

On the other hand, Rav Moshe does preface those comments with the
stipulation that "he will have the minimally required amount of kavana
even with the minyan". If someone's kavana with the minyan doesn't even
reach the minimal level, then he would seem to agree that he should
daven by himself. How to judge that level is a separate question.

Martin Stern's post ended with <<< A shul is not meant to be a social
gathering but a place where we can gather as a congregation to
communicate with [G-d]. >>>

Yes, I totally agree.

Akiva Miller

From: Anonymous2
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 07:21:36
Subject: Lateness to Shul

>I am posting this anonymously to minimize loshon hora issues.  If you
>don't know who I am you can't figure out who I am talking about.

We have a similar situation on Shabbos -- there is a shiur in one of our
classrooms given before Shabbos Shacharis.  As often as not this shiur,
which is supposed to end in time for davening, either lets out a few
minutes late or the participants end up in conversation outside the main
sanctuary.  Thus, the Shabbos Shacharis minyan is short and has to wait
(or skip) the two early Kaddish recitations.  Additionally, when they do
enter (late) they often are still conversing and thus disturbing the

Two points per both postings:

The above situation was discussed with the Rabbi who gives the
pre-Shacharis shiur to no avail -- is the learning more important than
the timely minyan.

Davening in a situation where a timely minyan -- or worse yet any minyan
at all (will we get a 10th?) is in doubt is especially nerve wracking.
Do you wait?  If time is of the essence (say mincha) do you abandon ship
and go to another shule (if you have that option) etc.

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 09:33:26 -0600
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

>From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
>I believe the main source I am recalling is Hovot Halvevot (Duties of
>the Heart by Bachya Ibn Pakudah) but it probably comes up elsewhere: If
>you had a meeting with the king (or today, a head of State or senior
>government official, or even your boss at work) would you come late?
>Yet you come late for your meeting in prayer with the King of Kings?

         i might if i had the same meeting every day, 3 times a day, with
the same agenda for each meeting, especially if i wasn't the only one
there  :-)

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Michael Mirsky <b1ethh94@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Nov 2004 12:29:21 -0500
Subject: Tal uMatar

Bernard Katz said:

>I understand that in the 17th century, the Jews living in the
>Portuguese colony of Recife, in Brazil, struck by the fact that it made
>no sense to pray for rain during Brazil's summer, consulted Rabbi Chaim
>Shabbetai of Salonica. As I understand the matter, Rabbi Shabbetai
>ruled that: since outside of Eretz Yisrael, the appropriate time to add
>Tal U-Matar to Birkhat haShanim is from the 60th day of the autumn
>season until Pesach and since a person should not pray for rain at a
>time when rain would be harmful for him, the Jews of Brazil should
>never say Tal U-Matar in Birkhat haShanim; and since during the months
>of Nisan through Tishrei prayers for rain may be recited in Shome'a
>Tefillah, the Jews of Brazil could say Tal U-Matar in Shome'a Tefillah
>if the need arose.

This is interesting: I always thought that the Tal uMatar is directed
towards Israel getting the rain, not the country we're living in.  So it
wouldn't matter where in the world you live.  But on the other hand,
there is the difference between Israel & other countries between when we
start saying it.

Michael Mirsky


End of Volume 45 Issue 74