Talking in Shul

Question

Suppose I’m in shul. It’s during a time silence is mandatory, such as prayer or Torah reading. I am sitting next to someone who seemingly doesn’t know or care and keeps asking me a pressing question. I refuse to answer because of the mandatory silence, so he keeps on asking me louder and louder and more persistently trying to get the answer. Is it preferable for me to ignore him, which would cause him to keep talking increasingly annoyingly? Or is it better to make an exception and answer him, which would satisfy and silence him? I’m asking because I recently had a situation like this, and walking away or changing seats wasn’t an option either because of the crowd size.

1 month

Answers

  1. What an awkward situation to be in! I think that under such circumstances the best thing to do is to tell the person that you look forward to speaking with him after davening and leave it at that. If he continues to pester you I think that you can tell him that you do not want to speak during the Service and that you will answer all his questions after it is over.

    Why is that better than just answering his question to begin with? Because this way you can (try to) teach him that it is not correct to talk in Shul during davening. Otherwise, if you answer him he will just assume that it is fine to talk and he will probably continue bothering you (or the others around you) all the way throughout davening.

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team