The Complexities of Complaints

In a post regarding the difference between a Minyan and a Tzibbur, I wrote: “A minyan is a place for davening, while a tzibbur is a place for people. … One of the main thing that distinguishes a minyan from a tzibbur are the complaints. … In a Tzibbur the members are the group and therefore they have a right to express their opinion, which are often perceived by the leadership as complaints. ”

The person who usually receives the most complaints is the President. Depending on their job, family and life situations, some Presidents spend more time in the Shul than others. If a President is in the Shul less often he will probably receive less complaints, because there is a whole class of minor complaints that people will make in person, but will not pick up the phone to pursue. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Let’s take a quick look at the complexities of complaints.

Less complaints are good because there will be less situations which can become major disagreements. In addition, each complaint is a challenge for the President, since he has to dignify each complaint and respond with respect to the complaining member – which sometimes can be challenging. Thirdly, many issues can’t be rectified because there are usually a number of factors why a given Shul Operation is administered in a certain way.

The first benefit of more complaints is that when people feel their voice is heard, they feel more connected to the Shul. Increased Shul connection benefits both the individual and the Shul. From a spiritual perspective, complaints give the administration the opportunity to increase their peace, love and understanding capabilities, and it’s a lot more difficult to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself when you’re being challenged on some issue. And lastly, if people don’t feel that they can express their complaints, resentments build.

If you didn’t like this post, please feel free to send your complaints my way.