Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Vayigash, 46:1. Be’er Shova; Davenning in a Dance Hall

Yaakov intentionally went to to be makriv korbonos specifically in Be’er Shova . Evidently he felt that there was some special advantage in doing the hakrovoh there.

Reb Moshe, in OC I : 31, regarding renting a building for the yomim noro’im that is used as a dance hall, says: The same way that we see according to Tosfos that it is better to daven alone in a Beis Medrash instead of with a minyan in a Beis Knesses, (and even according to the Rambam that the precedence of a Beis Medrash is only to be machri’a over rov om in the Beis Knesses but not if there is no minyon at all in the Beis Knesses,) it is clear that the place makes a difference in whether the tefilla will be accepted. So, he says, a person that davens in a place that is a makom tiflus like a dance hall, even if he davens with a minyan, the Shechina will not come there, and his tefillos will not be accepted.

This is a tremendous ho’ora, because it says, le’halocho, that the place that you daven affects whether your tefillos will be accepted, and certainly the degree of rotzon with which they will be viewed by Hashem. And even though tfilla with a minyan is niskabel, it will not be miskabel if you are davenning in a mokom tiflus, and you’re better off davenning alone, without a minyon.

It is worth remembering that Chazal refer to the city of Shchem as being a place that is muchon l’pur’onus ever since the events that took place with Dinah. Rav Shimon Krasner in his Nachlas Shimon, Melochim I page 255 brings from R Chaim Falagi that it was the sin of Shchem that made a permanent and indelible roshem that spoiled everything that took place there in the future, as we find that it was from there that Yosef was sold and Malchus Beis Dovid was cut in half.

R’ Moshe makes several additional points:
•That this psak is specific to the case of renting a place that remains kovu’a for tiflus. If, however, you are buying the place and changing its kvius, then there is no problem. Even according to the Mogen Avrohom in 154 that prohibits a place that was once kovu’ah for avodah zoroh that’s because of “m’issi,” it retains a stigma, that’s only AZ, not tiflus.
•That this is only a problem if it is kovu’a for tiflus, not if it is an occasional use.
•That this is only a problem if the kvius was done by the owners/legal users. On the other hand, if the tiflus was a hidden and illicit activity that was not approved of by the regular users or owners, it does not have an effect. He supports this from the B’er Heiteiv in 151:1 from the R’eim, where the shamosh was caught with a young lady in shul, it does not affect the kedusha of the shul.
•There is also a teshuva in YD where he says that one may not make a separate minyan to accommodate two chiyuvim, because of the din of rov om. If the place where they make the separate minyan is not a mokom tefilla kovu’a, ein tzorich lomar it would not be muttar.
And the tfillos of Avrohom and Yitzchok definitely make a difference in the place, because their tfilla was the proper and authorized use of the place. Also, kedusha has more kvius than tum’ah, so a single event can leave a permanent roshem.

So the people who go to a yeshiva on Yomim Nora’im are right, and the ma’alo of a yeshiva is definitely greater than the inyon of makom kavu’a or rov om.

So, now that we know that the mokom is important in the ritzui of the tefilla, we understand how it showed kibbud av when Yakov went to Be’er Shova. As noted below here in the discussion about Kibud of a Grandfather, from Rabbi Zupnik, Yakov could have passed through the place where Avrohom brought korbonos, but instead he went through Be’er Shova where Yitzchok had built a mizbeiyach. This showed respect for the hechsher makom that Yitzchok accomplished.

People like to say it doesn’t matter where you daven, as long as you have a minyon the Shchina comes, so what else matters. But we see from here that it does matter. It’s not black and white. Davenning in a place with more kedusha is a better davenning and it is accepted more readily by Hashem.

Now, it is always entertaining, but usually futile, to try to figure out which shul has better people, because we have no way of assessing people’s madreigah. And it probably is not helpful to say that you won’t daven in a certain place because “so-and-so the sheigitz davens there.” But we can safely say that just as davening alone in your house is better than davening with a minyon in a dance hall, a yeshiva beis medrash is probably a better place to daven than most shuls, and we probably can make even closer distinctions, like not davening where there is wanton and unprotested talking during davening.

The main lesson is that it is not only your davening that matters. You tefila does not stand in isolation. It is a private conversation between you and God, but it is also a part of a whole group of tfillos. It is also the tfilla of the tzibur, the tfilla of the building, the ground underneath you, and the echoes of the tfillos that you davenned there in the past, and even whatever else happened there in the past. As it says in Chabakuk 2:11, Ki even mikir tiz’ok, v’chofis mei’eitz ya’anenoh.

1 comment:

  1. BL: Preference to daven at home over davening in a "frum" shul where some are not shomrei shabbos? I have a tshuva (from the Zaideh) that says "Absolutely!"