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stop learning to help with minyan


Rabbi David Sperling

Tammuz 26, 5777
There is a rabbi who lived in a community of bnei torah and he spent $10,000 to move near a college campus in order to learn with Jewish college students. He sits next door to a shul and learns with the college students. When people come to the shul and they see that they don’t have a minyan, they ask this rabbi and the person he is learning with to help with their minyan. (The rabbi davened already). The rabbi says that he does not want to help with their minyan because the whole reason he spent $10,000 and moved near the college is to learn with these students, not to be bothered and asked to help with a minyan, and he tells them to get somebody from the street. These people can go in the street and get somebody else, or they can daven later, but it is not right to disturb somebody who is learning in the middle of his seder halimud. Talmud torah keneged kulam. He cannot learn while they are davening because the learning will disturb their davening, and it is not respectful to learn during chazaras hashatz.... So if he goes to help them, it will be bittul torah. Who is right?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Firstly, it sounds like there is a bit of tension surrounding this issue in the community. It is certainly not correct for me to issue a ruling from afar, without hearing from both sides, and without true full knowledge of the community and the situation. Obviously the best thing to do would be for the both sides involved to sit together and work out some arrangement that is mutually acceptable. It is certainly a great mitzvah to make peace in the community – especially on campus where both the shule and this Rabbi's learning center are there to increase Torah and bring Jews closer to Hashem. This objective will only be met if there is true peace and respect between the religious Jews themselves first. So, as I see that this question is important to you, may I suggest you take part in whatever is needed to bring the sides together so that everyone will feel that their point of view is being heard and respected? If the representatives of the Shule and Rabbi in question cannot come to a workable solution between them, please inform them that we would be happy to try and help them come to a understanding after listening to both sides. They should feel free to get in touch with us themselves. Blessings.
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