Q. Hello Rabbi Bartfeld, can you please forward this inquiry to Rabbi Hirschman? Thanks.
Hello Rabbi Hirschman,
What is the halachaic ruling if a husband goes to a shul he’s happy with and belongs to a tzibbur, which his wife and family feel shunned and mistreated by? The husband and wife managed to find another shul they go to together as a family on Shabbos and Yom Tov. At the new shul, the wife and family feel comfortable and welcome. However, this new shul does not have a steady minyan throughout the week. Few shul options are available to the husband and so he frequents his usual shul.
The wife is unhappy with the husband’s usual shul. This is because the husband’s friends are often giving unsolicited advice making the wife feel that there is interference in their marriage. There have been negative comments about the wife and children directed at the husband. Certain congregants make condescending remarks towards the children when they see them and the family is often one of the only ones excluded from social events (which in itself is a bracha as this family is more frum than the others). The level of frumkeit of the shul has significantly fallen since the shul was first established due to the negative influence of the more modern congregants.
The husband’s going to this shul even during the week is upsetting the wife and she wants him to go to a different shul. He does not wish to do so. He fears his shul friends will chase him and bombard him relentlessly with questions about why he left the shul. He does not wish to open a can of worms. He thinks it’s a better idea to move a significant distance away and join a different community. The wife and children are comfortable living where they are and do not fear the repercussions of changing shuls. What does the Rav recommend as the best course of action?
A. Horav Yaakov Hirschman Shlit’a answered as following: “He should continue to daven in the present shul on weekdays, but on Shabbos and Yom Tov he should daven where his family is more comfortable. If asked by his friends why he davens somewhere else on Shabbos, he can reply, “he asked a Rabbi (he may use my name if he has to) and was told; it is important to daven in a place where the whole family is comfortable.”
P.S. If he moves to a different community, what makes him believe, his friends won’t pressure him to find out why he moved away.”
The Rov added that if there is an additional conflict on the above issues, Sholom Bais should preempt and take precedence over other considerations.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as revised by Horav Yaakov Hirschman Shlit’a