Asking Shaalos – When Should a Rov Be Available

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    We had a rather lively discussion after davening yesterday morning about the availability of Rabbonim to ask Shaalos, consult, etc. NOTE: This is not a Rov bashing rant, just a little frustration. I must say that the Rov who I ask most of my Sha’los to makes himself available, or will call back within a reasonable amount of time.

    My feeling is that if you are gonna go into Rabbonis, you need to expect your life to be interrupted on a fairly constant basis by Sha’los, questions, and people needing direction and advice. Rabbonim that set hours that people can call… I think it is wrong. IMHO, the Rov should be saying, “I am available except for 6-7:30 PM.” instead of I am ONLY available during 6 – 7 PM.

    I understand the need for Rabbonim to have time with their families, etc, and time should be set aside by the Rov for those activities. But a Rov should be available most of the day and night for people who may need to ask an immediate shaalah or otherwise get in touch with the Rov. In the minimum, a Rov should have a voicemail that is checked regularly. Or ask that if it not an immediate Sha’lah to call back during a certain time. But to not be available for most of the day just doesn’t seem right to me. Would a police department shut down and only take calls during certain hours?

    Thoughts and comments.


    I havent had an experiance with a Rov that was only available for only an hour a day but if I did I would choose another one.


    A Rav should always be available. But….. he should be paid as such. Most Rabbonim are not paid a salary that allows them to be full-time Rabbonim & always be on-call. If people would properly pay Rabbonim, they wouldn’t have to have other side jobs, and would thus be more available.


    The Rav of my shul is also a teacher at a nearby school. He can’t answer questions during class! He does have hours, but if you leave him a message, he will call you back. Generally he is fast.

    One time, I really needed a fast answer and we couldn’t get through to him. I called his house and cell phone. It was early morning (7 am). I waited for about an hour but then needed an answer so I stalked him 🙂 I went to his house and rang the bell and apologized profusely. Turned out he had been in shul between 7-7:40 and hadn’t checked his messages yet.

    Overall, I think it depends on the size of the shul and his salary. If he is being paid as a full time Rabbi (meaning, a real living wage) whos sole purpose is to be available to the shul, then his hours should be much longer.

    If he is giving a smaller wage and has a regular job, his hours should be shorter.


    agree with lkwdfellow:

    Is your Rav a “full time Rav” (i.e. being paid 6 figures) or “part time”?

    If you only pay part time, only expect to get part time service.


    Depends on the question. Medical issues that are time sensitive (childbirth time, do / don’t do a procedure, ect) I’d call at 3am if I had to.

    All other issues (husband / wife, milchig spoon in a fleshig pot, ect) that can wait till a reasonable time of day.


    There are definitely rabbonim who get flooded with calls, even from outside their kehilla/shul. It unreasonable to expect them to be available 24 hours a day to the general public. Even those rabbonim are usually more available for their own tzibur , and will also make themselves available to anyone if the question is pressing. I remember listening to a tape a few years ago (don’t remember if it was Rabbi Reisman or Rabbi Goldwasser) who was called in the middle of night for a pressing question. The rabbi said “I think you’re better off asking your rov, since he is more familiar with the overall situation” and the person answered “I don’t want to bother my rov this late at night”.


    A basic shayla can be asked to ANY reliable Rav if yours is not available. Someone should be available.


    Sorry, I should have been more clear. When I say I’d call my rov at 3:00am, I meant MY rov, the one I daven by, the one who comes to my simchas, ect.

    To call a “community rov” like Rabbi Goldwasser? Unless directed to do so by my primary rov, that call should wait till a reasonable time. And if you don’t have a primary rov, the middle of the night/ crisis time is not the time to start a relationship


    One should respect that their Rov is only human and try not to bug him at crazy hours over silly shailos. My Rov told me some whacky shailos he got at 3 am that weren’t nogai for weeks into the future. Some people think everything is an emergency and its not fair to the Rov.


    There are ??? ????? which have Morei Horoah on rotating shifts for a major part of the day.

    There is major problem about calling a Rav with who you have no relationship. Very often the Rav needs to know your Mesorah &/or affiliation.

    There is famous story abot a chasisdishe rav who was asked on the phone about a “brait” that fell into the pesachdike soup. He answered “eat it in good helath”. Only later did he realize that the caller was a litvak and was referring to a bread ????? when he understood a ???? a piece of wood.


    Correction <<<<<about a “bait” <<<<<< should be “brait”


    Keep in mind, there are certain rabbanim who are only available for a short amount of time per day to answer normal, “run of the mill” shailos, and then for a large portion of the day they will be involved in other things. I’ve heard of a certain Rav who spends a lot of time arranging (for lack of a better word) a Get for women. He is busy with the Klal, but not for the “general” Klal.




    I would repharse your observation He is busy with the Klal, but not for the “””prat”.

    Along the smae lines in preHolocaust and today in sizable Kehilos

    there are ???? ?????? who answer the nitty gritty stuff & the senior Rav is approached with “major” or community related Qs.

    I know one very vibrant Kehila where the Rav a very energetic and charismatic Manhig does not have ???? ????? . When he was in Kollel and about to start leanrning ????? he was approached by a group of young Baal Batim to help organize their Kehila on a solid footing. He was advised by his Rosh Yeshiva to accept and concentrate on ????? & ????? .He is busy all day and a major part of the night saying shiurim in Hashkafa & Gemara,counselling etc. Interestingly emough their Dayan who answers their Halacha ????? is a vey quiet and withdrawn young man who cannot give a Shiur.


    I had an experience once where an important shailah needed to be asked and there was not ONE Rov available (there was some big simcha going on that night as well as a Yeshivah dinner, so between the two, the rabbonim in the neighborhood were all away. We finally reached a Rov who had gone to neither event, but was coming home from a shiur he had just given, and at first he refused to even take the call, because he was “tired, ” (so were we). The matter was eventually resolved, with great tirchah, through this rov, but it took a lot of name-dropping to get him to do what a rov should be doing, even if it is 10 PM, when he knows there is a great need.


    A Rov regardless of pay has chosen to be a man of/for the people and should therefore be available for them.

    Most Rabbonim are smart people and could have chosen a career path that afforded them wealth and luxuries.


    One reason I like my rav is that he is almost always available. He is now retired from being a pulpit rabbi but still works as a chaplain; since he only has a few people who ask him shilah’s he always is able to get back to me in a reasonable amount of time. He paskens according to Rov Soloveitchik z’tz’l when he has a mesorah from The Rav, and if he isn’t sure about an issue he consults with major poskim.

    Aseh l’cha rav is a very important commandment.


    Charlie Interesting that you used the term “pulpit rabbi”

    see my post where I described a “pulpit rabbi” who is not licensed to give Psak



    Shouldn’t be here.

    I had not read your comment when I posted. My rav has semichah from Rov Soloveitchik z’tz’l so he is licensed to pasken shilahs.


    I used to be concerned about bothering my Rav after 10pm. Now I have the Rabbonei YWN CR, all musmachim of the great gaon and posek Moderator #1. They are ready, willing and (in their minds) able to issue a psak on any matter at any time of the day or night.


    APY – ya got THAT right!


    I keep a few numbers handy for general shaylos.Whomever I reach is the one I know Hashem wanted me to reach.For shaylos where the person needs to have had an ongoing relationshio with you in order to answer properly– over time,you kind of get a sense of the best times to reach him successfully.But the rav has a family,and people should want the rebitzens to be able to see their husbands,and the kids to see their own father–without having to call up and pretend they have a shayla!


    there are a few places that have 24 hour hotlines where you can reach a reliable posek one that i know by heart is 845-halacha. Also when i was stuck with an important shaila at 1 am and didn’t want to wake my local rav, i called a rav in LA where it is 3 hours earlier.


    commonsense: i can see you have a lot of it. i don’t know too many people who would think like that.

    my shul decided they can’t pay a rabbi full time, necessating a second job for the rav. so they had a meeting with all the members and the rabbi to decide when the rabbi was going to be available during the day for the members and when for non-members. they came up with a plan reasonable for everyone and now we all know when we can call him and when we can’t and when we can tell non-members to call him. he’s also available for emergencies i believe but not guaranteed. so you can try, and if it doesn’t work you call another rav.

    that’s in america.

    here in e”y i have threee rabbis and a primary one that all have differnt available hours pretty much so i know when i can call each one. they all have basically the same shittas, and if one gives me a psak that sounds like something my primary rabbi would disagree with i try to go over it with him before i implement it.

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