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    Moving to your seat – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. On the High Holydays when the synagogue is full I cannot always get past my shule neighbour on the way to my seat. He is standing there oblivious to me and it is not fair. What should I do?

    synagogue pray tallitA. Your neighbour is probably praying. Maybe it is during the Amidah when everyone should stand devoutly and concentrate on every word.

    Good manners would suggest that if this is when you arrive you should wait patiently, not try to push past anyone, and be grateful that there are people who take the day so seriously and are not just praying for themselves but for the whole community too, so you are one of the beneficiaries of their prayers.

    You think your neighbour is deliberately obstructing your movements; the fact is that a person who is davening intently is in a spiritual world where they hardly even notice their earthly surroundings.

    When you do get to your seat, don’t show any displeasure; settle down immediately and start quietly doing your own thinking about all the deeper issues that really matter.

    May God hear your neighbour’s prayers, and yours too, and bless you both, and all of us, with a year of health and serenity.

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