Blackberry Crisis


The following appears below as well, in the “Out Of The Mailbag” category:

Dear YWN,

Over the past few years Klall Yisroel has been faced with various “Crisis’s”. We had the Shaitel Crisis, The Strawberry Crisis, The Bug in the water Crisis, and the ever popular Shidduch Crisis.

While not everyone would agree that the aforementioned crisis affected their “Kehilla”,  I would like to introduce a new “crisis” that affects all of Klall Yisroel equally. This is the BLACKBERRY CRISIS!

Take a moment, and think how long does your minyan in shul take? Let’s assume anywhere between a half hour to an hour and 15minutes for Shachris and perhaps 10-15 minutes for Mincha or Maariv?

Now if we add that up it’s about 1 hour and half out of your day. Do you honestly feel that you can not be away from your phone for that hour and a half?  What do you think would happen if you don’t answer that E-mail, BBM, or text message within the duration  of the Tefillah? Here you are talking to the “President of the biggest company in the world” and yet you would excuse yourself “for a second” because your friends want to know where to meet you for breakfast?? Is this logical? Have we forgotten that Hashem runs the world and not the person on the other end of your phone? (Even if it is your Wife, Co-worker, Stock broker).

You can’t go to a Tefillah anymore without having a phone ringing in middle. You can walk into any random minyan at any Shul / Beis Medrash you are guaranteed to see this.

It has reached a point where I have seen people with their Taalis and Tefillin on leaning on the Bimah, chatting away on the phone !! THE BIMAH ? The very same place where we place a Sefer Torah people are busy talking about the biggest nonsense ! I was recently at a minyan where the Baal Tefillah was checking his messages !! Have we forgotten how Heilege our Tallis & Tefillin are?

Have we forgotten what it means to daven ? What kind of example are we setting fro the next generation?

As I heard over in a shiur from one of my Rebbeim, we are very busy constantly making taking upon ourselves new takonos and segulos yet we are forgetting the basics Teshuvah TEFILLAH Tzedoko maavirin es roah hagezaria ! If we are “skipping out” on the basics how can we expect the “extra credit” to work ?
P.S. Can you imagine if The Ribono Shel Olam would “Kaviyochol” look away from his nation for “just a second to check his blackberry”??
Moishe Berger
Chicago IL


  1. He is 100% correct. If many of these people were in a meeting with their boss, they wouldn’t dare take out their blackberry’s, etc. to check who’s calling, texting…

  2. Reb Moishe,


    I don’t think one would argue that if a Hatzalah member’s radio went off while he was davening shemoa esrei before the “President of the biggest company in the world” that he would be OBLIGATED to stop davening and answer the call.

    It’s called piku’ach nefesh, and the “President” has told us in his “Owner’s Manual”, “it’s OK, kinderlach, don’t worry about Me, help your fellow man.”

    Trust me, there are some people with Blackberrys, who wear them 24/7, and MUST answer them, because if they don’t, PEOPLE WILL DIE.

    It’s not a Blackberry crisis, it’s a seichel crisis.

  3. The author wrote “Baal Tefillah was checking his messages”

    Let me tell you a story which taught me a GREAT message:

    I saw someone getting ready to be the shliach tzibur for Maariv & he started davening while using his pen on his palm pilot to organize his life. I was shocked. Shema was no different, but I was sure he would stop for kaddish & shmoneh esrei. Behold no – during shmoneh esrei he continued. I was shocked that he didn’t realize that davening is not just saying words, but it is speaking to Melech Malchei Hamelachim Hakadosh Baruch Hu.

    A few days later I realized that he had the Maariv tefillah on his Palm Pilot & he was in fact PARTICULAR to be davening from the text as opposed to many of us who daven off by heart – which is more difficult to concentrate. I had forgoten that there is a mitzvah to judge your fellow Jew favorably – this lesson is something I now try to be particular about !

  4. For the record – I use my blackberry during davening as well as during meetings with my superiors as well as my boss.

    Not saying it’s right – trust me it’s terrible.

  5. yeah,its getting a little pathetic. even if someone is not using thier phone they talk to others which is much worse and extremely disturbing.

  6. The difference between this crisis and all the others is that we can EASILY do something about it. All it takes is one or two people (or the Rov) of each shul to crack down on its use in Shul. It wont take long till everyone gets the message that in our shul, we leave technology outside…

  7. #2 shazam
    Wake up & … Do you really think that hatzalah has that many members? And do they conduct thier buisness by blackberry? Come on. It’s an epidemic – & a chillul Hashem.
    BTW I’m a medic with H, my phone goes to vibe whenever I enter a shul (for any reason), I glance at my phone when it goes off, & replace it tzonua if it’s anything but. If it’s emergent, I walk out to answer it. This applies even if there’s no minyan at the time.
    I’d like to see what happens if any of these guys you’re defending has to go to court for any reason.
    BTW – I spent about $250 & bought a cell phone zapper – & I use it very often.

  8. I think we have a different crisis: The “macho’oh crisis”
    Everytime someone decides to show off that they are so “shtark” and they therefore feel an urge to write a letter to YWN and discredit other yidden. True, not everyone is perfect, but every yid has their own special connection to Hashem, whatever it is, and so if they feel its okay to check their phones during davening, its NOT my business to criticze or comment.
    People: perfect yourselves (!) before running to make a macho’oh on the internet. These letters accomplish nothing productive ….
    Thanks for reading my comment. Now everyone, please go prepare for kabolas Hatorah.


    I am at fault- its addictive but thats not an excuse and will do my best to shut my phone off during shul time

  10. I don’t care what anyone says, using a phone during davening is unacceptable for whatever reason. I am not a strong believer in using a cellphone for davening because of Maras Ayin and also because it may cause you to answer texts etc. As far as Hatzolah is concerned, if it is an emergency then the radio will beep. I think that unfortunately, the Rabbi’s should announce in shul to please turn off cell phones or at least put them on vibrate. It is a disturbance. It is addictive and I want to know why you chose Blackberry over Iphone or any other cell phone.

  11. it’s a disgrace. we are not speaking about hatzalloh whom help the klal. not just at davening does the ringer go off, but also at funerals, hespeidim, shiurim with rabbonim, . even when pple are kindly reminded to turn off the ringers , they do not follow through. i think our derech eretz flew out the door when these gadgets moved in.

  12. Blackberries on its own is terrible distraction. When my husband goes to meetings even with his superiors’, when he is talking to them and they constantly look at their blackberries my husband stops talking in middle of the sentence. When urged to continue, he replies, “If you do not have the common courtesy to look me in the face when talking to you, I have nothing to say”.

    My husband told me that if you go through the Mussar Seforim such as the Chovas Halevovos, you will see that not only does the Ribono Shel Olam NOT listen to these “So called tefillos”, He doesn’t want them recited.

    We can learn a lesson from the Sefardim, who treat their Mikdash Me’at with the great awe and reverence it deserves.

    Despite our many flaws, may the Ribono Shel Olam NEVER look away from protecting Klal Yisroel!

  13. Used to be that you could tell who someone was by Kos, Kas, and Kees-now, I think that the ring tone of their cell phone, both the song that they choose, and the times that they choose NOT to turn it off, is a pretty good indicator also.

  14. To Uri (#4): There is a Halacha that one may not talk Divrei Torah during “Chazoras Hashatz” because someone may not know that it’s divrei Torah and think that its OK to talk then, Maybe this person should use a sidur instead of davening from his blackberry so that others (like you) who don’t know he’s using it for davening wont learn from him that its not bad.
    [The above halacha is IN SPITE of the obligation to be Don lekaf zechus!]

  15. # 9 says: “These letters accomplish nothing productive …”

    Why are you so sure that there wont be someone (even 1 person among all the others)who will read this well written “mochoah”, or others like it, and will think to himself “This guy has a point”!! I should really try to refrain from getting involved with my cellphone/blackberry while i’m in shul”
    Why dont YOU give Yidden a little more credit and realise that there ARE some who DO accept the truth even when someone criticizes them??

  16. #9 – If you truly feel that “its NOT my business to criticze or comment” “perfect yourselves (!) before running to make a macho’oh on the internet. These letters accomplish nothing productive ….” then why are you posting it on YWN?

  17. I do have a BB, but I made a decision whenever I go to shul either to daven or to learn I switch it to vibrate,(the reason I don’t turn it off, because a couple times I forgot to turn it back on and…..), and no matter what makes my phone buzz either a call,text, email etc. Coming in, I don’t even look what it is, and I really think that every single observant jew should do the same, this is the minimum, I don’t want to say it but I can resist, L’HAVDIL in a church I wonder if people would use or look at there phones during their services, we just finish the time of KABALAS HATORAH, I think this would be a good opportunity to show HASHEM that we’re series.