Hagaon HaRav Chaim Kanievsky: “This Is Why We’ve Been Driven Out From Our Shuls”


In a special letter written on Monday and published on Tuesday morning, Hagaon Harav Chaim Kanievsky called to Klal Yisrael to be mapkid about the use of cell phones in shuls and batei medrashos.

“To the honor of Rabbanim ha’gaonim and gabbaim of shuls in every location,” Harav Chaim wrote: “In our many sins it’s already been many weeks since we’ve been driven out of our shuls and batei medrashos…apparently this is a sign from Shamayim regarding the sin of being mezalzel the kedushas beis knesset by the fact that cell phones are on during davening and people are speaking on them. This is a great zilzul to tefilah and the kedushah of the beis knesses which our ancestors would never have imagined.”

“Therefore we must be metakein a set takana that it’s an issur chamur to enter shul to daven with a phone that’s not turned off and it must be turned off during the entire davening. The gabbaim should take responsibility to be careful about this and warn the mispalleim as a ‘chok v’lo yaa’vor.’

“It’s also fitting that when we are zocheh b’mheira to return to our shuls that the Rabbanim should say words of chizuk and hisorrerus in the severity of the issur chamur of being mezalzel kedushas batei knessiot and batei medrashos.”

Harav Chaim ended the letter by writing: “And in the zechus of accepting these matters, Hashem should return us swiftly to His avodah in shuls and batei medrashos b’rov am and accept our tefillos b’ahavah and ratzon.”

Hagaon Rosh Yeshivah Harav Gerson Edelstein signed the letter and added: “Likewise one should be careful about speaking devarim betalim in the beis knesset.”

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)


  1. Cell phones in Shuls, so Filthy Disgusting, and when one tells someone to shut up from their cellphone, they always become so incensed, and say how I simply don’t comprehend how critically important just their call was.

    Also Filthy Disgusting is people always arriving late to Shul, and some of them still departing early.

  2. OK. So why were children driven out of their yeshivos and Bais Yaakovs? And this was a bigger churban and hashchasa then not davening in shul. Because they were using cell phones in class? No. Hashem punishes midah kneged Midah. IMHO our society and our schools rejected and expelled children because their parents were not rich enough, connected enough or ‘frum’ enough. So Hashem threw out all of our children. This is the real problem and Mussar we should take from this Mageifah. If someone feels Im wrong , please explain why.

  3. Umipne chatoeinu galinu mebeis mikdoshenu meat – We come in AFTER davening has started, still drinking our coffee, taling to each other, going out in middle of leining, and biklal, not respecting our Mikdash Meat.
    We have to take our Avodas Hashem seriously. It is NOT a social get-together, that is why we have SOCIAL DISTANCING.

  4. A quick question. would a תנאי help ? Similar to an עירוב or מכירה etc.

    Also would it help to say an extra על חטא on this?

    Also an extra תפילה to הקב”ה to hasten the reopening?

  5. To 147 I ‘m talking about coming late or leaving early. Be dan leka zechus. I leave shul early because I have to get to work on time. Why I come late may not your business, but I’m sure you can think of many reasons someone may come late.

  6. To Binyanadead I personally had children rejected and expelled from yeshiva. I can understand your feelings. However, there are two things at play here personal and communal. On the personal level, our job is not to say this is the reason or that is the reason. Every person has to look at the situation and ask himself what he personally needs to improve. However, on the communal level, there are leaders it may be a rov of a congregation or a rov like Rav Chaim or even a parent in a home. Each leader has to address what he feels the klal as a whole needs to be fixed. Obviously, if Rav Chaim mentions cell phones that won’t negate other things that need to be rectified in our society. You mention school. Someone else will say weddings. and the list can continue.

  7. All this Filthy behavior of carrying on phone call conversations in Shul:- Magnify the disgrace of this abomination for people having the audacity to have cell phone conversations at the Kossel haShem yeRachem.

  8. I never bring my phone to shul. I am incensed that I have been forbidden to daven in shul because of the yeshivish people who abide by the rulings of Rav Chaim and yet still talked on their phones in shul. Ask me for forgiveness.

  9. RYT26- You hit the nail on the head. We don’t (want to) realize that we are in presence of the KING. We have to have Moreh Mikdash.

  10. For several years there were these same 2 people always holding their discussion during Keri’as haTorah; When I begged them to hold off, until at least after Kerias haTorah, they always told me, I have no idea how important their conversation is, and therefore how could I dare even think anything wrong with their lofty talk. Sadly they both had a major unspeakable tragedy later in life.

  11. These comments are so sad. Has coronavirus not does anything to iron out the wrinkles in our neshamos?
    Hashem distanced us from each other. Maybe we should speak kindly and judge others favorably so that we should have the zechus of renewed “kirva” – drawing close to each other. For example, comments like yours, RYT26, is motzi shem ra and will not bring us the zechusim we need to reopen our shuls. The shul where I daven is a makom tefilla with serious daveners and I don’t believe for a moment that for “most people” shuls are social clubs and davening is secondary. Take for example the sincere man who writes that he must leave shul early in order to get to work on time: he is moser nefesh to daven betzibbur as best as he can. He would NOT rush to shul in the morning rather than have a more leasurely morning routine before leaving for a day’s work to attend a “social club”. Obviously you speak out of pain and carry scars in your heart to prove it. I am truly sorry for your suffering. But nevertheless, Hashem’s hanhaga is middah k’negged middah. If you want Hashem to judge you l’chaf zechus, try judging others that way, too. It would be a worthwhile investment. “Tov ayin hu yevorach”

  12. Binyanadead,

    I understand what you are saying very well. You are not wrong.. I think that is one the biggest issues we have to fix… So many children destroyed in the process.. When all the schools and yeshivas closed, I thought the same as you.

  13. I always see people using their phones in shul Hashem yerachem, and often leave just to talk about sports outside, or they talk during davening… Chazal says that if you speak about non Torah topics in a Beis Medrash while you’re learning, you have no Chelek le’olam haba. It’s a very serious thing. Also, Eliezer ben Etia is still in prison, Hashem Yishmor veyatzil !!

  14. i was in shul pre covid waiting for mincha to start when someone came in asking when is mincha here to which a frum looking [ wears vissa zokin on shabbos ] replied all i care about is when do they finnish”” that my friends says it all

  15. I won’t argue with R. Chaim, but it bothered me more the papers with the graphics that the schnoorers pass out during davening. I saw SOOOO many people eye balling them during davening, and then BEFORE the end of davening, some schnoorer has to bang on the bimah and give a speech why I have to give him money.

    This, to me, is worse than the pelephones in shul, which do, but rarely ring…..

  16. With all do respect to the Rav, i figured this out way long ago. The question is why dafka at Peasach time. Answer b/c too many Jews leave their parents home alone while they go on vacation for a week b/c these spoiled brats cant be bothered to make Peasch. OR if they do come to their parents the mother or MIL works like a dog catering to all these young brats . Why not invite the parents , extra to plates then going to the parents making meal after meal for a large family. We Jews deserve everything that Hashem throws at us. We lost our ways.