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chesed at the expense of tefilla b’tzibbur


If one is asked to come to a certain place to help them with a minyan, but one knows that they are not makpid on having asara mispallelim, whereas I would strongly prefer to daven in a place that has asara mispallelim as is required by Rav Moshe, Rav Shlomo Zalmen, the Brisker Rav, and the Chayei Adam as cited in the Mishna Berura – do I have the right to refuse to help these people? Since “your life takes precedence” and by going there I am depriving myself of tefilla b’tzibbur according to numerous gedolei haposkim, whereas doing a chessed is only a mitzvah kiyumis and they can get someone else?


A person has the right to refuse to do a chesed if it will harm him, and because of “chayecha kodmin”, however a person should not use this rule all the time, because then he can technically weasel out of doing any chesed. If the shul can get other people to do it, you don’t have to miss out teffiloh b’tzibbur in order to do them a chesed. I hope this closes this issue.

Best Wishes

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1 Comment

  1. I just heard a very similar question posed to Rabbi Yisroel Belsky ZT”L. He used to give a Q&A for Irgun Shiurei Torah on daled chelkei Shulchan Aruch. I was listening to the tape of תשס״ב and he was asked the following question, someone was asked to be a tenth man but the shul started from Yishtabach when he came and causing his not be daven shemonei esrei with the tzibbur. Rabbi Belsky said that for a one time favor, one should miss tefila b’tzibbur and do the mitzva of chessed. But if it’s ongoing issue at the shul, he is not obligated to go to that shul and not daven shemonei esrei with the tzibbur. And he could tell the gabbai to work out other arrangments.

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