The Kindness of Seat Eviction

A Great Time to Daven
For the past five weeks I’ve been davening at a new minyan for me during the week. It’s a vasikin Minyan where Shemoneh Esrai is timed to begin at sunrise, the optimal halachic time. Right now that’s not too difficult since sunrise is currently about 7:20am, so the minyan starts with Brochos at 6:55am. It looks like sunrise will get to 5:23am in June and the minyan will start then at about 5:00am.

A Great Minyan to Daven
Besides the great start time, it’s also a great minyan in which to daven. It’s located in a small Beis Medrash in a local Yeshiva and seats 30 people comfortably at tables. The people are serious about their davening and, currently there are many people there 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start time. Since it’s in the Yeshiva there’s no membership dues, but of course it’s proper to make some donation to the Yeshiva over the course of the year.

A Great Seat to Daven
When I first started attending I asked a few people which seats were not normally occupied. It’s not a membership based shul and there are no official seats but the regular attendees generally try to daven in the same place each day. A great seat in the front was available and I’ve been happily davening there for the last five weeks.

There’s No Official Seats
On Monday, I came in about 10 minutes before davening and there was somebody in my usual seat. It was no big deal, so I asked one of the Gabbaim about the availability of another seat. He pointed out to me that the occupant of my normal seat was only there because two guys were learning in the seat he normally occupies. He told me he would go over to him when they stopped learning, and I told him 3 times that he shouldn’t and it wasn’t necessary.

The Kindness of Seat Eviction
He was not deterred by my protests and when they stopped learning he pointed out the situation and the person moved to his regular seat. He told me to hurry up and take the seat, before someone else did. I went over to the person who was asked to move and said thank you and he said it was no problem, he prefers his regular seat anyway.

At the end of the day the Gabbai was doing a chesed for me and everybody was happy in the end. Was it the right thing to do? It was coming from a good place and was done properly and I feel a bit closer to both the Gabbai and the person who moved as a result.