Thursday, 19 July 2007

Halachic Dilemma #2 - When should the Hazzan Return

Originally published 7/19/07, 3:10 pm, Eastern Daylight Time.
Standard procedure is that, at a Minyan, the Chazzan repeats the Amidah. Sometimes this practice is suspended in favor of a "Heichah Kedushah" - especially in Minchah Minyanim at work, at some yeshivos, etc.
There once was a daily Minyan scheduled every day at 1:45 p.m at the fictional "Software BigShots, Ltd.". After a vote, it was decided to have a full Chazaras Hashatz. This meant that the service typically took about fifteen minutes.
Despite the presence of about three yekkes, the Minyan rarely started on time. This meant that when it started five minutes late, the break was twenty minutes long. When the minyan began ten minutes late - it meant twenty-five minutes, etc. Managers at Software BigShots, Ltd were not happy with these extended breaks.
According to the Mishna, po'alim can shorten their davening any time. There was a lot of discussion about abusing company time etc.

Given that the Minyan was rarely, if ever, punctual what would be the best approach? Here are some possible proposals - although you might come up with others:
  1. Always and unconditionally do a "Heicha Kedusah".
  2. Always and unconditionally do a Chazras Hashatz & fuggedabout the consequences.
  3. When on-time: do a full chazras hashatz ; & when late: do a "Heicha Kedusah".
  4. Don't let the latecomers vote for Chazras Hashatz until they learn to come on time.
  5. Drop the Minyan completely so as not to abuse company time.
Your comments are welcome!

Kol Tuv,
Rabbi Richard Wolpoe


Rabbi Ben Hecht said...

The reality is that it is not your time but company time. One should be careful with the possession of another. If the managers were willing to give 15 minutes, then that should be seen as a true gift and not abused. Whatever will fit into the 15 minutes should be the objective. Of course, it may also be legitamite to investigate whether these 15 minutes were given b'lev shalem or squeezed out as well -- it is company time and the gemara's respect for company time should not be ignored in the pursuit of some spirituality, albeit the importance of davening.

Garnel Ironheart said...

It's very simple: they have from 1:45 - 2 pm. They should start no later than 1:46. If there's no minyan by the time they need one so they can repeat the amidah, then they don't repeat. Otherwise, going over time is stealing from the company.