The Phones of Yom Kippur

You don’t normally hear a phone go off during davening Shul. Yet here it was, Erev Yom Kippur, the last mincha of the year, the first viduy of the day, and five different phones rang, some of them more than once. After the fifth phone went off, one of those davening let out a big “Nu?!?”. What lessons were to be learned?

The first lesson is that we should consider turning off our phones as a preparation for davening. Disturbing others during davening is a big halachic no-no, and a ringing phone is one of the bigger disturbances. It was pointed out that perhaps many people don’t turn off their phones, but since they don’t get many calls, they usually get away with it. Erev Yom Kippur is a big time for phone calls, so these people got caught with their phones down. Hopefully we’ll all be careful with turning off our phones in the future.

The fact that a few of the phones rang twice, shows that some people just hit the reject call button, instead of turning off their ringer. We asked our Rav and he ruled that if a person is not sure whether he turned his phone off, he should take it out and turn it off in between brochos.

I asked a friend what he thought could be learned from this incident and he said we need to chill out when a phone accidentally goes off and not embarass the already embarassed davener with a “Nu?!?”.

We think of our phones as our personal devices, but there’s a lot of person to person considerations in our use and misuse of them during davening.