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  • Family and Society
  • Employer and employee

Private time in the Office


Rabbi David Sperling

Adar 6, 5772
I work at an office that is sometimes hectic and sometime REALLY slow (the phone hardly rings). Is it okay to study torah at times in the day that the email and phone is not going crazy and I’m in between projects? Thank you,
Shalom, Your question is an important one, as stealing work time from one's employer is a serious matter. The sages even discussed whether one's prayers and blessings should be shortened so as not to encroach on work time. So it is heartening to see that you, correctly, view this matter with the halachic seriousness it deserves. A person being employed to work specific hours may use those delineated hours at the employer's discretion. The boss can let the workers use slow time for their own personal use, or for other work. Personal study may be forbidden on the grounds that the worker will become absorbed in this study and not return to the work at hand when it arises. In short - the answer to this question lies not with the Rabbi, but with your boss. You should turn to him/her and ask what is acceptable in your office. Blessings.
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