BS”D

Recently talking during services & cell phone use which is forbidden in the Sanctuary has gotten out of Hand. Below is a letter from the first Lubavitcher Rebbe explaining the gravity of talking during the Service. If you need to talk, please do so before of after services but not in the Sanctuary

My beloved ones, my brethren: I beg of you, friends who are beloved unto their Maker and hateful unto their evil inclination: Do no wrong! Surely one should respect the wishes of their Beloved, and not of their enemy. Let no one make themselves wicked before G‑d during that one hour (i.e., the hour of prayer) that they have chosen of all day, so that [people] can congregate and stand before Him during that hour. For their is an auspicious time for Him to be revealed and to come into the “miniature sanctuary,” as a synagogue is called, to visit the Shechinah of Their Glory, “that dwells with [the Jewish people] in the midst of their impurity,” Even in the impurity of exile, the Divine Presence abides among the Jewish people. And at the auspicious hour of prayer the Almighty himself comes, as it were, to visit the Shechinah that resides constantly among his people. And to be accessible to those who seek Him and entreat Him and yearn for Him. At their auspicious time of prayer, they who speak of their needs, demonstrate that they have no desire to contemplate and to behold the manifestation of [G‑d’s] majestic glory. Thus they becomes an impure chariot (i.e., a subservient vehicle) to the “Supernal Fool” (i.e., to the kelipah), of whom it is said, “The fool does not desire understanding...,” as stated in the Zohar and by R. Isaac Luria, of blessed memory This means, they have no desire to contemplate and to behold the glorious splendor of the greatness of the King of kings — the Holy One, blessed be—which becomes revealed at this hour above, for the hour of prayer is a propitious time above.

It is also [revealed] below, to those who earnestly desire to gaze upon Their glory and greatness, which garbs and vests itself in the words of the liturgy which is known to all, and which becomes revealed to every individual, according to their intellect and according to the root of their soul; as it is written , “A man is praised (yehulal) according to [the measure of] their intellect,” As spelled, [the word could be pronounced] yehalel. The verse would thus mean, “A man praises (i.e., prays) according to the measure of their intellect,” i.e., in proportion to their comprehension of G‑d’s greatness. Now the kingdom of heaven is similar to a kingdom on earth.

It is customary for a king to have his might concealed in [his] innermost chambers, with many guards at the doors,(so) that many people wait for days and years [hoping] to behold their might and glory. Now when he wishes to be seen by all, and proclaims throughout his kingdom [that his subjects] should assemble and stand before him, so that he can show them his majestic glory and the exalted splendor of his greatness, whoever will stand before him and not care to see him, busying themselves at that time with their own needs, —how lowly, foolish and senseless are they; they resemble an animal in the eyes of all.

Moreover, it is a dishonor to the king, when they demonstrates before him that to have pleasure and delight from gazing upon their glory and beauty is of no more esteem in their eyes than busying themselves with their own needs. Moreover, it is a capital offense towards the king, to exhibit how they disgrace and dishonor the king in the eyes of the public. Of them it is written , “And fools raise the insult.” This means to say, that though they are fools, they should not “raise the insult,” making [it] apparent to all, for they not only dishonor the king, but also constitutes a capital offense.

For this reason our Sages, of blessed memory, ordained that with prayer one should [conduct themselves ] “as if they are standing before the king.” Now if they are standing before the King of kings, why do our Sages say “as if”? This means: At least they should make themselves appear as if they is standing [before the king] in the sight of all who look with physical eyes at their actions and words, even though a fool has no thought — although they does not have even an intellectual realization that while standing in prayer they truly is standing before the King.It was concerning their matter — the realization that one is standing before the King at the time that They appointed to reveal Their glory to those who seek Him — that all the prayers were instituted, [as is evident] to whoever meditates deeply upon them. But they that does not show their [realization] is guilty of a capital offense, and of him it was said in the sacred Zohar that “they brings disgrace into the Supernal Order, and shows that they is separate [from holiness], and has no share in the G‑d of Israel,” heaven forfend.

Therefore, declares the Alter Rebbe, I am hereby acting as an agent of our Sages, of blessed memory, to enact a decree to apply equally to everyone: No idle talk is to be spoken from the moment the Reader begins to recite the prayers until the end of the last Kaddish, at Shacharit, Minchah and Maariv. And they who disobeys intentionally shall sit on the ground and beg of three people to release him from the supernal excommunication that results from disobeying a Rabbinic decree. “They should repent, resolving to change their ways, and they will be healed,”and retroactively, no excommunication whatever will have applied to him. For from the very outset it applied only to those who rebel and are willfully sinful, and who do not care at all to seek atonement (as they ought) from heaven and from man for their grievous sin. Also, [their excommunication applies] only when people speak deliberately and brazenly, but not to a person who forgets, or unwittingly uttered a few words, for they does not require a release [from the excommunication] at all. “And G‑d who is righteous examines the heart and the kidneys”: They probes a man’s inner integrity, and is able to discern a deliberate offense from an unwitting one.

The Alter Rebbe concludes with a prayer : “Be benevolent, O G‑d, unto the good,” i.e., to those who refrain utterly from idle speech, “and unto those who are upright in their hearts”; i.e., also to those whose hearts meant well, but from whose lips a few words inadvertently escaped.