Entering a Shul for personal use

 

Entering into a Shul for personal needs:

 

A Shul is designated to be uses only for spiritual matters, such as prayer, Torah learning and general service of G-d. There are regulations emplaced in regards to using a Shul for personal use, even if one desires to only enter the Shul momentarily. The following are the laws relating to entering a Shul for personal motives. In certain cases the Sages allowed one to enter a Shul for personal motives if he learns some Torah while there. In other cases however it is forbidden to do so even if he learns Torah while there.    

 

Sun and rain:[1] It is forbidden to enter a Shul for the sake of shade from the sun or shelter from the rain. [This prohibition applies even if one will stop to learn Torah while in the Shul.[2]]

 

To call a friend:[3] If one needs to enter into a Shul for personal use, such as to call his friend that is sitting in the Shul, he is to enter the Shul and read some Torah or orally recite a Torah thought, and only then is he to call his friend.[4] If the person is not learned and does not know how to read then he is to ask a child [or other person] to read him a Pasuk from the child’s text of study. Alternatively, he can lengthen his stay in the Shul and then [call his friend and then] exit it.[5]

 

As a shortcut:[6] A Shul that contains two entrances may not be used as a shortcut to enter through one entrance and exit through the other entrance in order to shorten the walk towards his destination.  [Some Poskim[7] rule that this prohibition applies even if one will stop to learn some Torah in the Shul.[8] Other Poskim[9] however rule it is permitted in such a case.]


[1] Michaber 151/1; Megillah 28b

 

[2] M”B 151/4; Implication of Michaber and Megillah ibid which do not write this allowance in this case [Shaar Hatziyon 151/2]

 

The reason: As one is simply able to enter into a different building, and the allowance to enter into a Shul for personal use, even with the saying of a verse, was only allowed when there is no other way of fulfilling the action one desires to be done. [Shaar Hatziyon ibid]

 

[3] Michaber 151/1; Megillah ibid

 

[4] The reason: The reason one is to first learn Torah is in order so it does not appear that he is entering the Shul for his own needs. [Michaber ibid]

 

[5] The reason: As the mere sitting in a Shul is also a Mitzvah, as the verse states “Ashreiy Yoshveiy Veisecha”. [Michaber ibid]

 

[6] Michaber 151/5; Megillah 29a

 

[7] Or Sameiach Tefila 11/10; Poskim in Piskeiy Teshuvos 151/14 footnote 70

 

[8] The reason: As one is simply able to enter into a different building, and the allowance to enter into a Shul for personal use, even with the saying of a verse, was only allowed when there is no other way of fulfilling the action one desires to be done. [Shaar Hatziyon ibid]

 

[9] Biur Halacha 151/5 “Laasos Derech”

 

 

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