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I do not live so close to a shule. The only nearby shule uses a “Shabbos” microphone. Is there a halachic problem with such a microphone on Shabbos?

 

AskTheRav:

There are details missing here. What type of shul is this that uses a “Shabbos microphone”?

What is their mechitzah standards and other religious standards?

 

User:

Thank you for your reply:

  • The shule is Orthodox, as is the rabbi. Many (if not almost all) are not yet Shomrei Shabbos.
  • The mechitzah is 40”.
  • The microphone is tzomet.
  • The rabbi is willing to let us make a separate minyan in our own room.

So the question is:

  • Could I join the main minyan, based on the microphone/mechitza?
  • Could we use the facility to make a separate minyan?

 

Answer:

The accepted normative standard for a mechitzah is that it be at least 6 feet (72″) tall. This is the mainstream accepted halacha as well as the standards instructed by the Rebbe.

The same applies with regard to using a microphone on Shabbos. Virtually all poskim have forbidden this, whether due to halachic concerns of Chilul Shabbos (havarah, boneh, makeh b’patish, klei shir, etc.), or the halacha of avsha milsa (in contrast to chiming clocks which are set usually in advance and therefore permitted, mics are not normally set in advance and creates an issue of avsha milsa).

Others mention that one cannot be yotze Kedusha or chazaras hashatz this way. Moreover, even during the week it is a major issue as it an imitation of the Reform. Even though the microphone has a practical purpose to be able to gear the Chazan, we find that Poskim forbade moving the Mechitza to the front, for this very reason, even when done for practical convenience. Indeed, Poskim such as the Chasam Sofer and others have forbidden bringing a musical organ into the shule for this reason). Even if the “Shabbos microphone” would be “halachically kosher”, it could lead to other breaches in halacha, as we see that there is a great פירצה in this matter of “modernization in Synagogues”. Most Gedolei Gisroel have not accepted the heter of a “Shabbos microphon” even with all the special conditions. See at length והרים הכהן ד, יא. 

It is however permissible to daven in a side room in the Synagogue (in a fully kosher fashion) provided that it is clear that this minyan is a separate entity from the big minyan and that it will not be associated with the “quasi orthodox minyan”, and it should not be interpreted as giving a “hechsher” to the big minyan. ראה שו״ת אג״מ או״ח ב, מ. Since is likely that if you are short of a minyan, some of the daveners will go into the big minyan which is not up to par, it would be better to pray somewhere else until things improve in the Halachik standards of the shul. However there is room to be lenient in a side room as outlined above.

 

 

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