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More Kavana in a less frum shul


Rabbi Baruch Finkelstein

10 Elul 5767
It is an unfortunate truth that it is often easier to daven with Kavana in a less frum shul than it is in a frummer shul, due to the amount of talking you find in a frum shul. Everyone knows it is assur, yet many, many people do it. I find it very difficult, sometimes, to concentrate on my tefillot because someone invariably starts talking as soon as they finish their Amida, for example, even though many people standing next to them are still davening. The Rav of the shul has tried to do something about it, but he is not willing to "get tough" with the offenders, first, because he does not want to embarrass or alienate anyone, and second, because the ones who talk the most are the leaders of the shul (president, gabbai rishon, g’virim, etc.)! I get jealous of my friends in other shuls sometimes, because it seems that the people in those shuls are much more respectful of the services, and they do not disturb others with talking. even though they may be modern shuls, or, unfortunately, conservative. any suggestions? K’tiva VaChatima Tova
Conservative shuls are forbidden to pray in since there must be a separation between men and women during prayer. In another question in this forum I brought down that R' Moshe Feinstein says that a separation in shul is a Torah requirement. So even if there is talking in the orthodox shul the conservative shul is not an option. Between orthodox shuls though, one should definitely choose the shul with less talking even if the members of the shul are less careful in halachic observance than the talkative shul. I also don't know how people can daven in a shul with constant talking. It it annoying to the point of not wanting to visit in His sanctuary. So choose the other shul, or if it is possible, find a spot that is within the daled amot of people who don't talk. This is a general answer. Other factors may exist. A person also needs to feel socially comfortable in his regular place of worship. A practical decision should be made only after personal consultation with a Rav who knows the shuls that are being considered.
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