Makom Kavua – Being Kicked out of your Seat

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  • #1362624

    Meno
    Participant

    Joseph mentioned this in another thread but I don’t think it belonged in that thread so I started a new one. I’ve been kicked out of my seat as a guest a good number of times. People cite the importance of “makom kavua” without understanding how uncomfortable that is for a guest. The worst is when they don’t even help you find another seat.

    It really reflects badly on the entire shul when this happens, and shuls should do more to prevent it.

    #1362645

    Joseph
    Participant

    This was my original comment:

    If a person is late to shul and someone took his (paid/kove’a makom) seat, he can’t make that person leave. If davening is underway and a guest needing a seat took an unoccupied seat, he isn’t responsible to know or have to move for a latecomer that normally sits there. Otherwise no guest could ever sit down without having to worry he’ll be kicked out of the seat (at which point there may be no more available seats.)

    #1362686

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Meno +1 (the gist of your post)

    Joseph there said:

    “If a person is late to shul and someone took his (paid/kove’a makom) seat, he can’t make that person leave. If davening is underway and a guest needing a seat took an unoccupied seat, he isn’t responsible to know or have to move for a latecomer that normally sits there. Otherwise no guest could ever sit down without having to worry he’ll be kicked out of the seat (at which point there may be no more available seats.)”

    I agree with him too, Only thing is what is “Late” is shul dependednt .
    In the typical Shtiebel IVwe been too I’d say before Baruch Sheomar (I’m talking shabbos, Nusach Sefard) IT is ok to (nicely) ask someone to get up from seat.
    Im curious to hear other definitions of “late”

    #1362734

    Meno
    Participant

    I agree that it’s much worse when the member comes late (whatever “late” means), but I think it’s still a problem even when both people are on time.

    The only way I could possibly be OK with it is if:
    1) The member ASKS the guest to move in a VERY polite way.
    AND
    2) The member finds the guest another seat which he is absolutely sure is available.

    This may not be the case for everyone, but for a lot of people (myself included) it’s uncomfortable to daven in a new shul where you don’t know anyone. Being asked to move just multiplies that discomfort.

    #1362739

    motchah11
    Participant

    In my shul there’s a takanah that no one is allowed to tell someone else that he’s sitting in his seat. That should be de rigeur (sp?) for all shuls, I think.

    #1362754

    The little I know
    Participant

    While many things including this one have a halacha aspect, there is another element that cannot be justifiably overlooked. MENCHLICHKEIT a.k.a. MIDOS. In the absence of this, one should inquire whether the davening has any value at all. Let’s just touch on a few of the issues at play.

    הקובע מקום לתפלתו אלקי אברהם העזרו. What is meant by קובע מקום is discussed by the poskim, whether it means the same shul or the exact spot in that shul.

    The seforim expound about the need to make tefilo something which includes Klal Yisroel, and exemplifies achdus. There are many examples of this. Nearly every tefilo where we ask for Hashem’s help is worded in plural, we/us, not I/me. Giving tzedokoh before davening is heralded as a great seguloh, as is tzedokoh during tefilo. If we behave narcissistically, our tefilos suffer. There are loads of halachos that address the concern for another Yid during tefilo. We cannot cross in front of someone who is davening Shemoneh Esrei as it may disturb his concentration. There are tefilos that are recited quietly so that one does not disturb the other. Just as a father is contented by the unity of his children, so, too, is HKB”H seeking the togetherness of us, His children.

    If one wishes to question whether the Midos issue takes priority over the halacha aspect of Makom Kavua, just look for examples how Gedolei Yisroel behave in such situations.

    #1362756

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “In my shul there’s a takanah that no one is allowed to tell someone else that he’s sitting in his seat.”

    I disagree completly.
    If someone pays for a seat (or membership) he has a right to expect his seat available if he gets there on time.
    I agree it should be done nicely and I take it as a given that he would help the guest find an empty seat or one that is available that day .

    Of course it is lifnei meshiras hadin to offer a guest your seat given that as MEno says guests are often uncomfortable.
    but meikar hadin I think your Shul’s policy is incorrect.

    #1362758

    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    I never do for my seat, I figure the zechus of giving up my seat and not embarrassing someone overrides my makom kevuah however if I know it’s someone else’s makom kevuah and it’s before they start davening I will tell them

    #1362759

    Realisticguy
    Participant

    there is nothing to debate and a shul does not need to make a takanah. it is absolutely assur to ask someone to move from your seat regardless of wether you are late or not. exactly for the reasons listed above, it makes the person uncomfortable. the entire Torah is based one major concept ” treat your fellow as though you would want to be treated”…making someone move is against everything we stand for and makom kavuah does not Trump that.

    #1362760

    Realisticguy
    Participant

    btw I’m pretty sure it’s straight up in mishnah bruah.

    #1362761

    BoysWork
    Participant

    Its a tricky situation. You do want your seat but you don’t want to embarrass anyone either. As someone mentioned, the polite thing to do is to help the person find another seat. I, however, had an interesting situation many years ago. I was part of a somewhat new minyan which started Shachris on Shabbos at 9AM. I was generally In shul somewhere between 9 and 915. One Shabbos morning, I came in at my usual time and a nice newly married young man, who had just moved into the neighborhood, was sitting in my seat. I said nothing and sat somewhere else. After Shmone esrei, I walked over to him and mentioned to him that it was my mokom kevua. He offered to move, but I said it was fine, just stay for today.
    The following Shabbos, I walked in, and lo and behold, this same young man was sitting in my seat again. So, what would you guys do in that case? I was extremely miffed, and I told him very firmly to never take my seat again. I felt it was a tremendous chutzpah of him to do it again.

    #1362767

    DaMoshe
    Participant

    My shul has a rule that only on the Yomim Noraim are there reserved seats. For the rest of the year, the only seats that are reserved are the Rav’s.

    #1362772

    Yankelle
    Participant

    I understand that there is an inyan of a makom kavua, but part of that stringency is arriving early enough so as to ensure that the seat is unoccupied.

    It is completely inappropriate to show up late to shul and make someone move, in essence being machmir on makom kavua but being VERY makel on other issues, such as embarrassing a guest and/or interrupting their davening. I believe that the term for such a person is a Chasid Shote.

    #1362840

    RealityCheck
    Participant

    Two simple suggestion that I have seen implemented in some shuls . One is to have seats that are available to guests with some sort of indication that they are available (no name plates on the seats or a seating chart hung somewhere) the second idea I have seen is where a gabai or one of the more outgoing and friendlier members will go out of their way to greet someone who seems to be looking for a place to sit (especially an unfamiliar face). Personally as a guest in a shul I always ask someone where it would be okay for me to sit. This avoids an future discomfort at being asked to move.

    #1362819

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “the only seats that are reserved are the Rav’s.”

    why?

    something else I’m missing is why cant the guest ask “Hi I’m new here is there any available seat” thats what I do in most cases someone helps (opr even offers his seat)

    People pay for their seats/membership (often a lot of money) I am not sure why everyone here assumes it is ok to just take something someone else paid for.

    Again I agree it is nice to help them find a seat and without question it shouldnt be done in an embarrassing way .

    #1362872

    groissechuchum
    Participant

    I think the issue hinges around is there any “ba’alut” to a specific seat in shul. if not then even if your makom kavua what “right” do you have to kick someone out or ask them to move? its not “yours”. and if it is “yours” then through what means? if kinyan of membership fine, you can leave for 6 moonths and come back and its yours. if by chazaka, then if someone sitting in your seat while you travel then you lose it

    #1362887

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    The concept of a “makom kavuah” or having “chazakah” over a particular seat in shul is an anachronism except perhaps for seats reserved for the rav, gabboim, elderly, disabled or small shtieblach where the seating is sort of random and movable chairs are paired with a shtender where one stores his tallis/teffiin/seforim. Otherwise, in a moderately or larger sized shul with fixed seating, it should be “open seating” period, without regard to whether certain baal habtim consider themselves to be sufficiently important to warrant having seats permanently dedicated to them regardless of whether they are in shul when davening starts. There is no more or less important chair from the perspective of the Ebeshter who could care less where you are seated and is more concerned with your kavanah, even if you are hanging from a chandelier or mistakenly seated in the varbeshe section.

    #1362903

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “if by chazaka, then if someone sitting in your seat while you travel then you lose i”

    Not quite, chazaka on karka isnt defined by who is there now (though perhaps the guy who stole the seat has a chazaka on the chair).

    #1362924

    Meno
    Participant

    Gadolhadorah,

    That is incorrect. Everyone agrees that there is a concept of Makom Kavua.

    #1362947

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    @motcha11
    While your shul may say no one should tell someone else that he is seated in someone else’s seat, I don’t believe that should apply to seats in shuls that are sold for major donations and have name plaques on them.
    A visitor should not presume to seat at a seat with a nameplate unless directed there by the gabbai.

    When I was growing up in New Haven, it was common for families to belong to multiple shuls and pay dues to each and have permanently purchased seats. I remember on Yom Kippur my father would start the day with us boys at one shul and make the rounds of 3 or 4 shuls during the day, greeting friends and relatives. In each shul, the family seats would be open awaiting our arrival. He varied the order each year.

    When my father was niftar in 1989, I received 3 nameplates in the mail from shuls where he had purchased a permanent seat.

    #1362959

    motchah11
    Participant

    The Little I Know,

    “הקובע מקום לתפלתו אלקי אברהם העזרו. What is meant by קובע מקום is discussed by the poskim, whether it means the same shul or the exact spot in that shul.”

    Well, the Mishnah Brurah says that it means the man’s seat in shul, but that anywhere he sits within daled amos of his seat is still his makom kivua.

    #1362962

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Hi Im sorry to obsess over this, but I am really confused and flabbergasted that this is a controversial issue

    Are you all really saying that if I get to shul (on time) and someone is in the seat I have davened in for x number of years, paid for etc. IT is wrong for me to tell my new friend:
    “shalom aleichem welcome to our neighborhood, I hope you have a meal for shabbos If not please let me help you. Oh and if you dont mind I usualy sit here please allow me to find you a seat that is available. would you like to be closer to the Air conditioner or further? and here is a Chumash for laining.”

    that is really wrong?
    Several posters (Meno (“it’s still a problem”), motchah11, realisitcguy (“absolutly assur” !!??) perhaps TLIK, Gadolhadorah) seem to indicate that this is wrong.

    Have I misunderstood?

    #1362973

    dafbiyun
    Participant

    So there was once a prospective ger who had been studying for his gairus for three years. Finally the big day arrives. His friend meets him on the street the following Shabbos. ‘ So, how was it finally davening in shul as a Yid”, he asks. ‘Can’t really say” says the ger “Every time I sat down to daven someone threw me out of the seat”.

    #1362985

    The little I know
    Participant

    ubiquitin:

    You implied that nicely asking someone to move out of your makom kavua might be assur. I said nothing of the sort. All I did was introduce the element of midos into the discussion, and that stooping to a lower level of midos to fulfill the inyan of makom kavua is questionable. You continued to describe a beautiful manner in which you would retrieve your seat with extreme politeness in getting the guest to move. I like that. I do not pasken shailos, and gave no such implication. In fact, I strongly doubt that other commenters on this site are capable of paskening shailos either. I would prefer to understand the issues, and introduced that to other readers here.

    #1362986

    Meno
    Participant

    “shalom aleichem welcome to our neighborhood, I hope you have a meal for shabbos If not please let me help you. Oh and if you dont mind I usualy sit here please allow me to find you a seat that is available. would you like to be closer to the Air conditioner or further? and here is a Chumash for laining.”

    In 9 out of 10 cases, the guest will feel much more comfortable if you left out the two lines about the seat. No question in my mind.

    #1363020

    gavriel613
    Participant

    So far the posts have taken one of two positions: Either “Its my seat, he can get out”, or “Its bad middos to kick him out”.

    I think that middos aren’t only on the seat owner. The person sitting there is also expected to have some middos.

    Finding someone else sitting in their seat is upsetting for a lot of people. It leads to aggravation, and feeling bad if they do ask you to move. Just read many of the above comments if you doubt this.

    I often daven in shuls where I don’t have a seat, and I always ask the people nearby if the seat is available, or wait until late enough in davening to assume no-one’s coming.

    Having said that, using this as a reason to kick the fellow out because he has bad middos by taking my seat – that itself is bad middos! Two wrongs don’t make a right etc.

    #1363021

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    To Meno: I’m not talking about where someone has “paid” for their seat, either in perpetuity (aka brass plaque with his or deceased’s name) or where one buys a ticket for the yamim noraim for a specific seat. My reference is to an otherwise large shul where the olam has no financial nexus with a particular seat but some otherwise ehrliche yidden insist they have some sort of property rights based on the equivalent of “adverse possession” (aka if I sit there x times, its “mine”).

    #1363025

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    TLIK

    “You implied that nicely asking someone to move out of your makom kavua might be assur.”

    I did int say assur, I said “wrong” . And Im sorry if I misunderstood your post, I left yo uas “perhaps” since it wasnt clear to me if you viewed that exchange as wrong. I didnt mean to misinterpret your position

    Meno
    “In 9 out of 10 cases, the guest will feel much more comfortable if you left out the two lines about the seat. No question in my mind.”

    “In fact, I strongly doubt that other commenters on this site are capable of paskening shailos either. ”
    Im, not sure what that means. Im pretty sure almost everyone hear can pasken what beracha to make on an apple. Almost no one can pasken what to do about a wife of a baal teshuva who wants to be migayer.
    “Paskening” whether it is ok to politely ask someone to switch seats is closer to the former.

    I guess we run in different crowds in 99/100 of those I know they would be thankful not to inconvenience someone else by taking his seat . No question in my mind either.
    Perhaps it depends on minhag hamokom then.

    #1363027

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Gadolhadorah
    “based on the equivalent of “adverse possession” (aka if I sit there x times, its “mine”).”

    the hebrew term you may be looking for is chazaka, and yes there is such a thing.

    #1363026

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Shules have the right to set any policy they want regarding seats. We have the a seating chart (seats are purchased for the year) listed on the board before entering the shule and another on the wall in the shule. It states that one should ask the gabbai if they need a seat. Our rule is that one cannot ask someone to move after Shochen Ahd. We have plenty of non-assigned seats available on any given Shabbos or Yom Tov. Rules are set aside for a simcha. I have been asked to move to another seat when I visited other shules. Again, one has to be asked/told in a way that is bderech hakavod.

    #1363050

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    To Ubiquitin….yes, I understand the concept of chazaka but don’t know of where chazal bring down that x times provides such ownership rights….presumably, it varies from shul to shul but my point is that whatever the number, a more rational approach in a large shul, as many have posted, is open seating, especially after a certain point in the davening whether it be baruch she’amar, nishmas or borchu..

    #1363053

    Meno
    Participant

    …a more rational approach in a large shul, as many have posted, is open seating…

    I don’t think anyone else posted that.

    You tend to do that a lot – say that everyone agrees with you when no one actually does.

    #1363068

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Gadolhadorah
    Chazal bring it in the third perek of Bava Basra.
    While that isnt the exact case here. Chazaka does have broad implications in halacha in particular regarding mitzvos like servign as chazan or Baal tokeah. Daveinig in shul is a mitzva too, and the concept of Chazaka, without question exists.
    Of course a Shul can make their own policy.

    “especially after a certain point in the davening whether it be baruch she’amar, nishmas or borchu..”

    I prefaced my first comment as not referring to late comers.
    I agree it is wrong for late comers to ask people to move, though even thenIfthey ask nicely AND ( cant stress this enough!) provides a seat I think it could be justified but not as easily as the guy who comes on time.

    #1363110

    GAON
    Participant

    “Well, the Mishnah Brurah says that it means the man’s seat in shul, but that anywhere he sits within daled amos of his seat is still his makom kivua.”

    Furthermore, The Mishnah Brurah does not imply on the account of another person already davening, you can offer the person another seat, but the inyan of Kivua does not override anyone’s right to have a seat or to embarrass someone.
    The very same Shulchan Aruch says that prior to davening you should be mekabel mitzvah of ‘ואהבת לרעיך’ etc. And also says “יקבע מקום לתפילתו שלא ישנהו אם לא לצורך – a guest sitting in your seat might very well be classified as “לצורך”, if there is no other seat to offer or can’t be done in a proper manner.
    Additionally, there are Rishonim who hold that makom kivua only applies to your house, although we don’t rule like that, but I’m sure you can apply it to all the above, depending the situation.

    #1363141

    groissechuchum
    Participant

    bottom line – can a seat be a particular someone’s to the point that they’re entitled to it? if it’s your makom kavua and someone else is there when you walk in you should be patur

    #1363153

    GAON
    Participant

    ubiquitin,

    “I agree it is wrong for late comers to ask people to move, though even thenIfthey ask nicely AND ( cant stress this enough!) provides a seat I think it could be justified but not as easily as the guy who comes on time.”

    Good point!
    Another point – Most don’t realize, that Makom kavuah applies to Tefilas Shemonah Esrei only (as all terms of Tefila in shas), therefore, where there is no other seat available etc., he can (and should) ask nicely if he can take his place by Shmonei Esrei, i’m sure the guest won’t mind moving over for the few minutes.

    #1363162

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “bottom line – can a seat be a particular someone’s to the point that they’re entitled to it”

    I’m pretty sure it is universally accepted that the Ravs sseat is off limits to everyone, but the Rav.

    #1363193

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Its a real stretch to extend the inyan of chazaka in baba basra as cited above to stand for the notion of makom kavua and a license to demand someone who comes to daven change seats if there has been no financial commitment in relation thereto. If a shul wants to “reserve” particular seats for certain individuals, they should be clearly marked as such. In most shtieblach, one would logically conclude that a chair and shtender in the corner by the bimah piled high with seforim “is reserved” for the rav, gabbai, etc….not so for a unmarked seat in a row of otherwise identical seats in a shul with many rows of seats

    #1363195

    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    “bottom line – can a seat be a particular someone’s to the point that they’re entitled to it”

    Absolutely if the shul has sold it to the person. Ownership is more than entitlement

    #1363248

    Realisticguy
    Participant

    ubitquin and others….im sorry if I wasn’t clear when I said there is no debate and that it is completely assur and made it sound like i was giving my opinion…what I meant to say is it is straight up assur that is not an opinion it is a fact….i will try to find the makur or you can ask your rav.. but there is no question that under no circumstances are you allowed to tell someone they are in your seat regardless of how long you’ve sat there or how much you paid or anything else….again not an opinion it’s an issur….

    #1363257

    Meno
    Participant

    This has nothing to do with rights or entitlement.

    It is about making another Jew feel uncomfortable.

    #1363258

    JJ2020
    Participant

    If someone asks you to move should you?
    Is making kavua your seat or within 4 Amos radios?

    #1363284

    groissechuchum
    Participant

    “This has nothing to do with rights or entitlement.”
    I beg to differ. If the seat is not “yours” if you’re not entitled to that seat by right then what right do you have to kick someone out? Because you want to fulfill your makom kavua (OCD?) need? why is that the other guys problem? of course can ask politely to move, why not, can ask to cut line in grocery, but it certainly isn’t something that should be done with a sense of entitlement if that is not the halacha or minhag. the question started out with two people arguing over who should get a sertain seat as one guy has bought it in the past but doesnt daven there or hasnt davened there in months and someone else has been sitting there suddenly the traveler shows up and says “this is my seat” the question is – is it “his” seat? can someone leave for 15 years and ask for the seat back? no. Can someone be away for a week and want his seat? Yes. so whats cut off point? If seat “belongs” to a purchaser I would think the timeline is more extended than if its just etiquette to a usual inhabiter. So putting aside etiquette and middos my question is if makom kavua actually establishes some sort of chazaka or entitlement or if its simply a habit one should practice (same place) but not that one would have some claim to. not asking legally sense court of law but what would a rav say to two mispallelim

    #1363299

    Meno
    Participant

    Groissechuchum, I think you’re talking about the other thread. This thread is different.

    #1363353

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Gadolhadorah
    “Its a real stretch to extend the inyan of chazaka in baba basra as cited above to stand for the notion of makom kavua …”

    This is incorrect. chazaka has many applications in halacha as cited above for exampe doing something three times might create a neder. A chazon who has served several times cant just be fired

    “and a license to demand someone who comes to daven change seats if there has been no financial commitment in relation thereto.”

    Again incorrect, though there usually is a financial realtion thereto either by paying for a seat or membership.

    “.not so for a unmarked seat in a row of otherwise identical seats in a shul with many rows of seats”
    Why not assume they are reserved and simply ask?

    Realistguy
    “im sorry if I wasn’t clear when I said there is no debate ”

    Oh you were quite clear. And congrats on making one of the strangest assertions I have read on this site.
    Im not that well versed in fake halacha and neither is my Rav, so I cant ask him. But I would love to hear more fake halacha from you what other things that Ive paid for is it assur for me to ask someone who is using if I can use. (not not middas chasidus, Assur) IF someone is using my Sefer can I ask for it back? what if he is in my bed? Is this fake halacha limited to seats in Shul? thanks

    Groissechuchum
    As MEno sais you are confusing threads.
    Here you seem to agree “of course can ask politely to move…”

    #1363355

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Meno

    A few quick questions Since I honestly find this thread fascinating

    1) Is there a difference between the seat a person always sits in and the one sitting in today?
    Say I arrived in Shul early start davening then go to bathroom/get a Sefer or chumash ask the Rav something etc. upon return a guest is in “my” seat. In that case is it wrong to find him another seat?
    If no how is rthis different than the previous case, in either case he is being made “uncomfortable” by being asked to move

    2) Why Cant the guest ask what seats are avialble? why is he assuming nobody usually sits in any seat?
    3) If he knows someone usually sits there say he has been a guest there before and Knows Yankel allways sits there Tallis is on the seat/under desk etc is it wrong for the guest to “take it over” one week?

    4) IS it different if the “seat holder” asks him to move as opposed to somebody else saying (nicely) “That seat is taken let me find you a free one”

    #1363388

    hml
    Participant

    Guests should not presume they can sit where they like. It’s manners to ask someone if this seat is usually occupied by a regular. I think it’s more of an issue for men than women, but I know my husband gets upset if people just sit in his place . He doesn’t ask them to move, though, but he thinks it’s disrespectful, especially if the newcomer is a guest of the regular neighboring occupant.

    The only time I think it’s appropriate to volunteer to give up a seat is for a Bar Mitzvah or Aufruf. The family & guests should sit “eibernun” and I always give up my regular seat willingly. I offer it. But on RH & YK, I have a reserved seat & I expect it to be empty when I get there.

    #1363412

    apushatayid
    Participant

    “It is about making another Jew feel uncomfortable.”

    Sitting in someones seat and putting them in the uncomfortable position of asking you to move is also about making another jew feel uncomfortable.

    #1363469

    a bunch of wasted ink. its up to the bosses of the shule (public or private) to set policy

    #1363497

    Joseph
    Participant

    Sitting in someones seat and putting them in the uncomfortable position of asking you to move is also about making another jew feel uncomfortable.

    A guest comes to shul, knows no one, where should he sit if no one seats him? The gabbai usually doesn’t wear a name tag or employee badge identifying him.

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