Makom Kavua – Being Kicked out of your Seat

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  • #1363504

    shmoolik 1
    Participant

    I make an effort to get to shule either on time or a few minutes early if I am late and a guest has taken my place I ask them to move over a place or two or open my place take out my talis etc. till he gets the message

    #1363542

    Joseph
    Participant

    if I am late and a guest has taken my place I ask them to move over a place or two

    If you are late you shouldn’t ask him to move in middle of davening. It isn’t his fault you’re late and he shouldn’t have to interrupt his davening due to your lateness. Especially when it’ll now be hard, if at all possible, for him to find another seat.

    #1363549

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    joseph
    “knows no one, where should he sit if no one seats him?”

    I dotn follow
    why isnt saying “anchuldikts mir, is this seat available?” an option

    If response is “Yes” – Sit there
    If response is “No” reply with “do you know of any available seat”

    Again if response is “Yes” – sit there
    If response is “no” – this is a brand new topic that we havent discussed so far, since in all my comments I took it as a given that a seat can be found. (Feel free to start a third thread – taking someone’s seat if there are no available seats )

    I have done this many times, it has never failed me. I dont understand why this isnt an option

    #1363569

    Meno
    Participant

    Shmoolik,

    So that was you?

    #1363580

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Joseph,

    All I was saying is that it is a two way street. It is uncomfortable for a regular to find someone in their seat, and it is not nice to ask someone to move. It is also uncomfortable for guests who are unsure where to sit, and it is not nice for a guest to assume and cause others to be in an uncomfortable situation as well.

    No, gabbaim do not wear name tags, nor should they. Basic decency says that a new face shows up in shul, someone should go over and welcome him and offer him a seat. since this discussion assumes we are not on that level, the next step down is causing an uncomfortable situation and dealing with one.

    #1363616

    GAON
    Participant

    Many are mixing up the two topics.
    a) Makom Kavuah b) חזקה on seats.
    Those are two separate issues, regarding moving a guest over.
    MAKOM KAVUAH –
    I don’t see where the Shu”A or Talmud ever intended ‘Makom Kavuah’ as a ” right” over someone else sitting in your seat – all it says – is that YOU should make sure to do everything possible to daven in a Makom Kavuah, as they would say in Brisk: it’s a דין Din in the גברא NOT in the ” “חפצא (i.e. the seat) – the concept of Makom Kavuah does not give any rights. Yes, you can absolutely request (or arrive earlier!), but the person has no obligations to move once he is seated.
    (Note – I just searched and saw some modern day poskim discussing the issue, but no one has any source where we see Makom Kavuah is a “right”)
    CHAZAKA ON SEATS –
    As others have pointed out, that is all up to the nature tekanahי of the Shul etc.
    Is there any such Chazaka in the first place?
    (Note, a mere place is not monetary, hence, is not exactly Chazaka of Baba Kama, but there is a concept of Chazaka as any right to a Mitzva, as pointed out by Ubiq..) How long and what defines Chazaka ? Is it a private Shul? Is it a public shul? Is it a community shul? Did he pay for the seat? Did the Gabay give him the seat? Is it a shul that everyone has their seat either given or purchased etc.?

    #1363623

    Realisticguy
    Participant

    ubitquin, what u fail to be having is perspective…what I wrote is not fake halacha on any stretch….it is very intimidating for a person to walk into a shul that he has never been to(maybe not for everyone but that doesn’t matter)…a person is sometimes even more nervous and shy to take a seat so the halacha is we don’t want to make them more uncomfortable…it doesn’t matter what you paid for and it doesn’t matter how you do it because you will never be able to know exactly how that person feels….and if your rave is not well versed in “fake halacha” then I suggest you find a new rav…..

    #1363624

    RSG
    Participant

    I presented this question to Maran Reb Chaim Kenievsky. He answered the following.
    One may tell a person sitting in his makom kavuah to kindly move, even if there is not another seat available, (especially if he is a member and paid for that seat, this applies to seats he purchased for his children so that they may sit next to their father).
    Rav Chaim shlita said it is the responsibility of the gabai to ensure guests will be accomadated with a place to sit. He added that the shul should have folding chairs available for such a situation

    #1363625

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Personally, I am generally in shule before davening and even though not the gabbai I will try to assist. IMO, the bottom line is that a guest should ask someone (gabbai or otherwise) where he can sit.

    #1363618

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Putting aside common sense, which is the norm on some of these threads, a yid walking into a new shul typically doesn’t first search for a seating chart hidden behind the door or wait for the gabbai sheini or shlishi (who was supposed to be standing by the entry door and instead is schmoozing with his chevrah by the bimah) to point him to a seat not covered by the local minhagim governing makom kavua. My experience is that 9 of 10 times, you walk in and absent a simcha where you search out the family, you take whatever seat appears empty.

    Edited -79

    #1363837

    GAON
    Participant

    RSG –
    “I presented this question to Maran Reb Chaim Kenievsky” ”
    As with all recently “Maran Rav Chaim Q&A” ; they lack clarity, and I would never rely on any of those, unless written by a reliable Posek or by Rav Chaim himself. There are thousands passing and asking him all kind of questions and he replies in short. P’sak was always written with halachik/talmudic sources not just a short Yes and No. There have been some seforim like Hilchos Ketanos that were written as Halachos Pesikos and some opposed it. (which is a topic on its own)

    “One may tell a person sitting in his makom kavuah to kindly move, even if there is not another seat available”

    He can tell” now , is the person obligated to move? Is the person going to be offended? Is it before or in mid davening?
    And lastly, can you or anyone explain where do we find “Makom Kavuah” to be a “right” on the expense of any other person sitting (as commented above)?
    In any case, the very concept of “Makom Kavuah” is ONLY regarding Shmonah Esrei, thus he can only request the spot for that particular time, and the rest of davening he can take whatever is available.

    Bottom line – if some late comer asks you in middle of davening to “move” because he has an issue with his Makom Kavuah” just reply you will move at Shmonah Esrei…

    #1363986

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    GAON
    Well put (you will note,I did not mention makom kavua in any of my posts on this thread)
    Though Im not sure why it depends on the “Takanah” of the Shul and not practice. yes in a shul where people sit anywhere any week sure there is no chazaka. but if the same person sits in the same seat week after week year after eyar, why wouldnt chazaka apply in the absence of a set policy one way or the other?

    Realisticguy
    ” if your rave is not well versed in “fake halacha” then I suggest you find a new rav”
    No thanks. I much prefer the real kind.
    Though dont get me wrong the fake kind is great. I literally laughed at the assertion that it is “assur” (your word) to ask someone to please sit in another seat especially when said seat is provided. So please keep it up.
    Earlier I asked if this “halcha” applies if he is using my Sefer or bed as well, or is it limited to seats?

    GadolHadorah
    “Putting aside common sense, which is the norm on some of these threads, a yid walking into a new shul typically doesn’t first search for a seating chart hidden behind the door or wait for the gabbai sheini or shlishi”

    Reverting back to common sense, He deosnt need a seating chart nor a Gabai. he can ask the first guy he sees “hi Reb Yid Im new here is there an open seat” 99/100 he will get one and not inconvenience anybody.

    #1363999

    yitzyk
    Participant

    Quoting GAON – “I would never rely on any of those, unless written by a reliable Posek or by Rav Chaim himself.”

    Getting way off topic for a moment (- but appropriately), this reminded me of the famous story about the Ohr HaChaim Hakodosh, during the time when he went ‘off the grid’ and traveled incognito for the purpose of self-imposed Galus. He was listening to a Rabbi’s drasha on Shabbos, and the Rabbi quoted what he allegedly heard from the Malochim discussing divrei Torah that the Holy R’ Chaim had said that week. R’ Chaim interrupted the Rabbi’s drasha to say “that is not what Chaim said!”. The first time, the Rabbi let the affront to the Holy Ohr Hachaim Hakodosh go by unpunished. But when this interruption from a seemingly rude stranger repeated itself, he had to defend the honor of “R’ Chaim” and had the stranger beaten (for calling him ‘Chaim’). This ended up being the message to R’ Chaim that his atonement was completed and he was able to return home.

    My point is, that even R’ Chaim himself is not always believed when he denies (or maybe confirms) that he said something!!

    #1364006

    yitzyk
    Participant

    Meanwhile, getting back onto topic. I too, like iacisrmma, arrive early to Shul. I try to be helpful when I see strangers looking for a seat, to direct them to available seats. It is a very difficult task because our shul is usually quite full. The Gabbai has to know exactly who is not going to be coming on a particular Shabbos or Yom Tov.

    One of the difficulties I have is that there are people who consistently come very late, but sometimes not at all. Their empty seats are an enticing draw for otherwise ‘homeless’ (seat-less) guests, who inevitably end up sitting there. I am always torn with the indecision whether to tell them that the seats are reserved and potentially look like a mean idiot when no one else comes to claim the seats, or to say nothing and then painfully watch when the rude seat-owners show up late and ask the guests to leave their seats. By that time, there are usually absolutely no other seats available.

    I have on occasion given up my own and my son’s seats and stood in the aisle in order to rescue guests from the embarrassment of this banishment.

    It bothers me greatly, but I basically said it all right at the start, when I mentioned that I always come early to Shul. Obviously I might be unhappy with people that do not care enough to ever come on time, but especially if they are mean to guests as well.

    #1364059

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    yitzyk: I have also been in your position. Recently someone visited our shule and asked me about seating in a specific seat. I told him that normally the person usually comes to shule and it would be better to sit in the seat next to me. He responded that for medical reasons he had to sit near the hallway. I told him to sit where he wanted and I would tell the “regular” that I gave him permission to sit there. The “regular” had an aufruf and didn’t come to shule.

    #1364916

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    GH: You wrote “a yid walking into a new shul typically doesn’t first search for a seating chart hidden behind the door or wait for the gabbai sheini or shlishi”.

    In my shule the seating chart is not hidden. It is just to the right of the entrance door, at eye level, just above the poster with the weekly schedule and just below the sign that reads “Please do not sit in someone’s seat, they have been purchased for the year. Please see the gabboyim for assistance”. There is another seating chart with the same sign pasted on the wall once inside the shule.

    #1365128

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    FWIW, I wouldn’t even think of asking someone to move from my seat… even if I did arrive on time.

    Yeah, I put potentially embarrassing someone over makom kavua.

    The Wolf

    #1365157

    takahmamash
    Participant

    IIRC, there’s a shule in my old American city that had a rule that seats remained reserved until Yishtabach, and after that seats were available to anyone who wanted to sit there.

    #1368379

    barak
    Participant

    Hilchos קינג בית כנסת the mchaber and Misha brura poskens there is no such thing as makom kavua only where the the minhag is to sell the seat and even this there is a machlokes see biur halaca due to tkanas r gershom yd. 124

    #1368426

    catch yourself
    Participant

    I think Ubiquitin is absolutely correct here.

    There is nothing wrong with asserting yourself, obviously in a proper way, and reclaiming your seat. Of course, the right thing is to try to help find available seats for guests (regardless of whether they took your seat).

    In my opinion and [limited] experience, both as a regular and as a guest, this does not embarrass anybody. It is to be expected, and should not even be uncomfortable for the guest.

    I do agree that at some point during Davening (in my mind, this point is Borchu), any latecomers relinquish their “rights” in this regard.

    As a guest, I never assume a seat is available; I ask someone sitting nearby if the seat I want is open. Being a guest does not exempt you from common decency either. Unless you are completely new to the concept of Shul, you should realize that people have seats.

    The place where I usually Daven is very popular, and it is very difficult to get a seat. If I come at a reasonable time to find that a guest has parked himself in my seat, and that I therefore don’t have one (which has happened a number of times), I don’t say anything, but I do think that the guest is wrong.

    I once came early to shul, just to find that a guest (whom I knew was a family member of someone who sits near me) had “claimed” my seat with his Tallis bag!

    For the record, Rav Shlomo Kluger directly applied the Halacha of Chezkas Karka to seats in Shul. He was asked regarding a Shul that had expanded its building, whether the members’ seats were to be awarded relative to the layout (next to the wall), or if they stayed in the exact location of the previous seat. He ruled that the Makom Kavua was the actual place of the seat because that was the land on which the member had a Chazaka, and not its proximity to the wall.

    #1368447

    Joseph
    Participant

    Forcing guests to wait until Borchu to sit down in unclaimed seats is unreasonable. That is way late, and by time the minyan is up to Borchu guests aren’t going to suddenly start moving around into unclaimed seats in midst of davening. If Baruch Sheomer passed and a seat is unclaimed, it is late enough to be hefker.

    Also, often when a guest asks others sitting near an unclaimed seat whether it is available, they either don’t know, shrug or they say it is late enough that it is available. Then the late bird shows up thereafter when the guest is already seated there.

    #1368616

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    Joseph: I never said that guests have to wait until “borchu” to sit. In the shule where I daven, it is possible that if a guest is sitting in someone’s seat he can be asked to move by the one who purchased the seat up until Shochen Ahd.

    #1368662

    Joseph
    Participant

    iac: I was responding to catch yourself’s comment immediately preceding my response.

    If someone asks a guest to move in your Shul, who is responsible for finding him a new seat — especially if by time the regular guy finishes his coffee and arrives just before שׁוֹכֵן עַד there are no more other seats?

    #1368668

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    There is a lot of back and forth regarding shuls where someone has some actually “entitlement’ to a seat by virtue of some sort of purchase or endowment of a specific seat (although most MO shuls only “sell seats” for the yamim noraim). For example, when I go to a simcha at a Young Israel somewhere, I rarely have encountered anyone telling me “that seat is taken” by someone not yet in shul. I’m certain that other shuls the issue is as much an entitlement by virtue of years of having sat in the same place rather than a financial entitlement to the seat. However, some of the comments seem to conflate the two different situations.

    #1368747

    iacisrmma
    Participant

    GH: your comment “although most MO shuls only “sell seats” for the yamim noraim” is where most of the misunderstanding is. Young Israel’s, in general, have different rules about seats. My grandfather davened in a Young Israel and sat in one seat on the right hand side of the shul (for ~ 22 years) except for the yamim noraim when he “purchased” his seat on the left side of the shul that was assigned to him when the shul was built.
    In the smaller shteebles (shteeblach), seats are generally sold for the entire year (generally from Rosh Hashana to Erev Rosh Hashana) so this way shul members will have a place to sit when they come to shul. I davened in one shul for 11 years, purchasing the same seats all 11 years.

    IMO, the whole thread can be boiled down to the essential questions:
    Does the guest/newcomer have the responsibility to ask about a seat or is it the mispallilem who have to look out for the guest/newcomer?
    Does it make a difference if it is before the scheduled time for davening or after davening has started?
    Does the shul have a rule about seats and are the rules posted for everyone to see?
    Does the shul have the seating chart posted in a conspicuous place so that the guest/newcomer can check for himself what seat is available?

    #1368756

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    GH
    “I’m certain that other shuls the issue is as much an entitlement by virtue of years of having sat in the same place rather than a financial entitlement to the seat. However, some of the comments seem to conflate the two different situations.”

    thats becasue halachicly they arent neccesarily different. a Kinyan on land can be made by either ?KEsef or chazaka.

    Iacrisma
    “he whole thread can be boiled down to the essential questions:”
    I like your essential questions
    however, I think reasonable people can disagree on most of those, thus I dont find them particularly interesting.

    what I did not think reasonable people can argue with was the point made by several posters that astounded me. Namely: that It is wrong (one poster wrote “assur”) to ask someone to switch seats no matter at what point during davening the request is made, no matter how nicely you ask, no matter how good of a seat is provided.

    #1368762

    groissechuchum
    Participant

    based on a shiur I heard this morning (siman kuf ayin aleph in shulchan aruch) it seems to me there is a difference if the shul seats are priced based on place (mizrach wall = premium pricing) or if just pay membership which gets you a seat. if you paid a certain price for certain placement I think you’d have more of a “right” to a seat, if you pay general membership which gets you a seat you have less of a “right” to a specific seat. the fact that people get so worked up over getting their particular seat says to me that in general people feel a certain expectation to get “their” seat and if someone is in their seat it leaves a lot of people feeling rattled. If someone walks into a shul as a guest and doesn’t ask where to sit they are clueless and inconsiderate imo

    #1368773

    apushatayid
    Participant

    Apparently seating charts, at the time of year when it is customary in almost every shul to “sell” or assign seats mean nothing to some people. in our minyan, there is a rather large easel right next to the entrance with a very simple to read and understand map of the shul, its seats and who is assigned what seat, and when I got to shul for mincha erev rosh hashana (between 5 and 10 minutes before the posted start time) there was someone sitting in my seat.

    #1368794

    Joseph
    Participant

    APY: What did you do?

    #1368805

    Gadolhadorah
    Participant

    Outside of the yamim noraim when the shul if full and there are generally no available seats, if you walk into shul and someone is in “your” seat, and that person is not a regular, one would generally just sit elsewhere where a seat is available and avoid the awkward request to tell someone to move elsewhere. There are times where common sense and the desire to make a strange yid feel welcome and avoid embarrassment should take precedence over your “entitlement’, whether real or implied.

    #1368815

    apushatayid
    Participant

    the same thing everyone else at the table did. we figured out how to get 5 seats into 4 spots for mincha and we found the “guest” an empty seat for maariv.

    #1368826

    catch yourself
    Participant

    Joseph, I agree that the precise point at which it would be wrong to evict a guest from your seat in Shul is open to debate. Your opinion that this is at ברוך שאמר is certainly valid, although I disagree. In any case, I think this is a footnote to the main subject of this thread. You apparently agree with the basic premise that there is nothing inherently wrong with asking a guest to vacate your seat, provided that this is done in an appropriate manner and at a reasonable time, whatever definitions you would assign those terms.

    I do not believe in forcing guests to “stand until Borchu.” Guests should be welcomed by whoever sees them, and guided to available seats as soon as they come to Shul. If this is not done for any reason, a guest should find an open seat and ask whether it is available.

    In answer to your question, “If someone asks a guest to move in your Shul, who is responsible for finding him a new seat — especially if by time the regular guy finishes his coffee and arrives just before שׁוֹכֵן עַד there are no more other seats?”:

    I think it is obvious that basic human decency requires that the member who evicted the guest should try to help find him a seat. Likewise, it is an entry level responsibility of ואהבת לריעך כמוך to help any guest in Shul find a seat, regardless of who forced him out of their seat.

    Your implied derision of the “regular guy finish[ing] his coffee and arriv[ing] just before שוכן עד,” I think, is unnecessarily judgmental. The responsibility to make one’s co-congregants feel comfortable does not end with guests, or with helping to find seats. It certainly includes having a welcoming and accepting attitude.

    #1369359

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Why would a guest get up for some rude jerk who tries to kick them out of a seat.

    When I come to a shul, if I want to sit, I sit. If someone comes and tells me it’s her seat, I motion to be quiet because we’re davening.

    If they start davening on top of me, I pull out a can of sardines from my talis bag, and open it near them, taking care to spill the oil. This method has a 98% success rate.

    #1369658

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Why would a guest get up for some rude jerk who tries to kick them out of a seat.

    Why would a guest take a seat without asking if it’s anyone’s makom unless he’ a rude jerk?

    Also, I’m trying to figure out if you’re in a mixed shul, or are a woman who wears a tallis.

    #1369659

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Also, what happens the other 2%?

    #1369680

    GAON
    Participant

    Catch/Ubiq:
    “thats becasue halachicly they arent neccesarily different. a Kinyan on land can be made by either ?KEsef or chazaka.”
    “for the record, Rav Shlomo Kluger directly applied the Halacha of Chezkas Karka to seats in Shul. ”

    Not that I disagree with both of you, but the demographics of RS Kluger’s typical shul and others have entirely changed. The typical Shul all pre-war seforim discuss was the “town’s” shul, meaning, it was built by the town, owned by the town, and really belonged to any person residing in the town, thus it can be obtained by means of Chazakah, Yerusha etc. as the Muchzak is part of the actual ownership. i.e. the “Town”. Whereas nowadays, shuls are either privately owned or are owned by the “members”. There is rarely any concept of a “town’s shul” anymore. E.g. in a Towns shul, I doubt that any Gabay or anyone else had any right to move anyone from his chazaka seat – it was totally his.
    Therefore, I am not so sure how exactly and if “chazakah” is anything of an ownership here. I don’t think in the case of Rav S Kluger, regarding reconstructing a shul can be applied to nowadays shuls. I believe “chazakah” does give you sort of a right” over any other person. Nothing less than someone taking a seat and is “his” for now.

    We need to see the responsum in entire to see what its based upon, and see if it can be applied.

    #1369760

    popa_bar_abba
    Participant

    Also, what happens the other 2%?

    Ah. Glad you asked. Various things.

    One guy ate the sardines. And then licked off his tallis strings.

    One guy dipped his siddur in, and then gave me crazy eyes until I fled.

    One guy took out some smelly cheese, and rubbed it into the shtender.

    A few others for later.

    #1372526

    Joseph
    Participant

    Let’s face it, those people who kick guests out of their seat, by and large generally do not help the poor guest find another seat. Those that do are in the minority, by far.

    #1373776

    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    I don’t understand – if a seat belongs to someone, shouldn’t it be labeled?

    And if it’s not, how can you expect someone to know?

    And if he doesn’t know and is sitting there, isn’t it assur to interrupt him in the middle of davening no matter how politely it’s done?

    #1373866

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “if a seat belongs to someone, shouldn’t it be labeled?”

    not necessarily. My car isnt labeled. You should still assume it is someone’s

    “And if it’s not, how can you expect someone to know?”
    Ask. If unsure how I put a direct phrase in quotes above. It is only 5 words long, really not hard to remember

    “And if he doesn’t know and is sitting there, isn’t it assur to interrupt him in the middle of davening no matter how politely it’s done?”
    No. There is no such issur (depending where in daveing he is holdig though even in birchas krias shema Im not sure what the issur would be, though it isnt nice, and birchas krias shema is waaaay to late to ask people to move in my opinion

    Joseph
    “Let’s face it, those people who kick guests out of their seat, by and large generally do not help the poor guest find another seat.”

    joseph I agree. Though Im not sure they HAVE to, of course it is nice to, and there is amitzvah to be nice.
    That being said, I can see people disagreeing on this point.

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