Ethics

For the week ending 2 February 2008 / 26 Shevat 5768

Pray Together Stay Together

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Question: In the synagogue where I pray daily there are "shtiblech" — prayer rooms — where services begin a quarter of an hour apart from one another. The temptation of joining a minyan whenever it is convenient clashes with my sense of discipline. What is the right thing to do?

Answer: The "shtibel" system makes sense for people whose daily schedules differ. But it is not right to alternate where you pray daily according to how late you sleep on any particular morning.

First of all, our Talmudic Sages have pointed out the importance of having a fixed place for your prayers, a concept that seems to include the need for a fixed time and fixed minyan.

In addition to the quality of prayer in a fixed frame of time and place, there is the social aspect. Praying together creates a valuable bond of friendship and missing out on your regular company may even raise suspicion regarding your seriousness towards prayer.

In conclusion, make it a habit to pray together and stay together with your fellow worshippers.

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