The Other Side of the Story - Phoney Prayer
About 10 years ago I was visiting my old country. I was in my brother's area when it was time to daven ma'ariv (pray the evening service). I went into one of the well known shteibels (small synagogues) and stood at the back. At the end of the davening, the Chassidic man to my left recited kaddish (sanctification prayer). In the middle, the person next to him got a phone call on his cellular phone. Not only did he answer it, but he turned to the man saying kaddish and said: "Shssh, I can't hear."
I lived off this story, telling it every time the subject of talking during prayer came up. I told it in order to ridicule the people of that shtiebel, to illustrate their improper attitude toward prayer.
About three months ago, I told it to my brother. He said, "Oh, that must have been Moshe Poloni (name changed). He's from Hatzalah, the Jewish emergency and ambulance service, and his Rabbi said he's not allowed to come to ma'ariv unless he brings his phone with him and answers it instantly, no matter where he is in the davening.
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