02. Interruption for the Sake of Kavana

If a woman is praying and adults or children are talking nearby, disturbing her kavana, she should hint for them to be quiet, for nonverbal suggestion is considered less disruptive than walking. However, if they will not comply, she may walk to a different place and continue praying (MB 104:1).

Similarly, if a woman comes to synagogue to pray and her child disrupts the Amida to the extent that she or others cannot have proper kavana, she must hint to him to leave. If the child does not understand, she must take him out of the synagogue silently and then continue praying outside.

If a domestic problem that will cause monetary loss if not handled immediately arises, she may not interrupt her prayer (MB 104:2; Kaf Ha-ĥayim 6). However, if she becomes so preoccupied that she cannot concentrate, she may go home to resolve the issue.

If a siddur falls to the floor and one cannot concentrate until it is picked up, she finishes the berakha that she is saying and then goes to pick it up. If one starts praying by heart, becomes confused, and cannot continue, she may go get a siddur and continue praying (MB 96:7).

If the telephone rings while one is reciting the Amida, she must continue praying. However, if she cannot maintain her kavana, she may turn off the phone and continue praying.

Likewise, if there is a knock at the door and the woman praying can control herself and continue her prayer, she must do so. However, if the distraction preoccupies her to the extent that she worries that perhaps the matter is urgent and if she does not open the door the person knocking will leave, she may open the door and hint to the person that she cannot respond at the moment. But she must be extremely careful not to interrupt by talking (Tefila Ke-hilkheta 12:86).

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman