ASJ met with the Sudilkover Rebbe, and these words stuck with ASJ and they stick with me, too. I've written about talking in shul a lot, and it's one of my biggest pet peeves of them all. It's another reason I cherish my alone, at-home time with HaShem so very much. The Sudilkover Rebbe said,
"If we are given 22.5 hours a day when we are permitted to speak with others, why must we encroach on the 1.5 hours that are set aside solely for our conversation with Hashem? Isn't it He alone who provides for all our needs? If we really believe Hashem hears the words we say, how could we ever even think of speaking to others when we are standing before Him in His house? We need to stop speaking to others when we are speaking to Him!"
And really, why? Although, I suppose there is the argument that the holiness is not of the place in Judaism (when it comes to the synagogue) but rather in the gathering of a minyan. So, perhaps, "His house" really means the collective body of prayer that is obtained when ten men gather?
At any rate, you can read the full post over at A Simple Jew. You can also read my rant about talking during services from back in 2009 here.
For those of you wonder who the Sudilkover Rebbe is, I can't seem to find much outside of A Simple Jew's blog, where he has lots of advice and stories from and about the current rebbe. The original Sudilkover Rebbe was the grandson of the Ba'al Shem Tov, the father of chassidus. According to one website,
Few people can point to the shtetl of Sudilkov on a map of Ukraine. Most maps, in fact, do not even show Sudilkov. Historically, it was known throughout the Jewish world as a center of the Hasidic movement, for manufacturing talleisim (prayer shawls) and printing Jewish books. Sudilkov was the home of the famous rebbe and author of Degel Machaneh Ephraim, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Ephraim, grandson of the Ba'al Shem Tov. The only remaining evidence of Jewish life in Sudilkov is the Jewish cemetery located next to the "Stav" lake.If anyone knows more about the particular brand of chassidus that the Sudilkovs practice, let me know. I'd love to know more!