Part I: Orach Chayim
Chapter 9 - THE SYNAGOGUE
The residents of a town must build a synagogue and buy Torah scrolls and
other holy books (150:1). When possible, the synagogue should be built at
the highest point of the town, and should be taller than any other inhabited
building; see 150:2-3. The entrance of the synagogue should be opposite
the side that the congregation faces to pray (150:5), and nothing should
be build near the synagogue's windows (150:4). The Ark (where the Torah
scrolls are kept) should be on the side that the congregation faces, and
the platform (BIMAH) from which the Torah is read should be built in the
center (150:5). The leader faces the Ark; the elders sit along that side,
facing the congregation (150:5).
A person should behave seriously in a synagogue or house of study (151:1).
He should not go into them for shelter, or use them for relaxation, or work
in them (except for religious purposes), or eat or drink in them (although
scholars are allowed to eat and drink, particularly in a house of study,
if necessary); see 151:1,4. A person who must go into them to see someone
should pray, study, or sit down briefly first, so he will not appear to have
gone in only on business (151:1). Eulogies must not be delivered in them,
except for prominent people (151:1). [These things do not apply to a house
of study in a private home (151:2).] A person should not sleep in a
synagogue, even briefly, unless he needs to be there overnight, but naps
in a house of study are permitted (151:3-4). A person should not enter a
synagogue with dirty clothes or bareheaded; see 151:6,8. A synagogue
should not be used as a shortcut (see 151:5) and should not be littered
(see 151:7); it should be kept clean and well-lit (see 151:9).
A synagogue should not be torn down or sold (see 153:7) until a replacement
for it has been built, unless it is in danger of collapsing, and parts of
it may be taken down only on condition that they be rebuilt; see 152:1.
Even a ruined synagogue must be treated respectfully, but it may be used for
dignified purposes if this was stipulated when it was built; see 151:10-11.
The materials of a ruined synagogue must not be used even to build a new one
(152:1). The attic above a synagogue must not be used for disrespectful
purposes; but if part of an existing building is made into a synagogue, the
other parts of the building may continue to be used (151:12). These
things do not apply to a place that is used for prayers only temporarily;
see 154:1-2. A synagogue may be converted into a house of study, but
not vice versa (153:1).
When holy things are sold, or money is collected to buy them, or materials
are collected to make them, the sale must be advertised (see 153:7) and
the proceeds may be used only for purposes that are at least equally holy;
but once the purpose of the collection has been achieved, any surplus may be
used for other purposes (see 153:2-5), but must not be used for disrespectful
purposes (see 153:9). [Holy things may also be sold for such purposes as
supporting scholars or marrying off orphans (153:6,13).] These rules do not
apply to property that belongs to an individual (see 153:10,12,14-20,22;
154:15), or that has not yet been used for holy purposes, or to a sale made
with the agreement of the city's leaders (see 153:7-9). Exchanging holy
things or giving them as gifts is like selling them, but renting or lending
them (to use for other purposes) is not permitted; see 153:11. On things
that should not be used for holy purposes see 153:21;154:11-12. On the
treatment of things that are used in association with holy things see 154:3,
6-7. On how to dispose of holy things that are no longer usable see 154:4-5;
on what to do if they are still partly usable see 154:6. Holy things may be
used for other purposes if this was specified or understood originally; see
After the morning services, and after eating breakfast (see 155:2), a person
should set aside time for Torah study (see 155:1). He may then go to work;
but the Torah study should be regarded as the more important occupation
(156:1). A person should be careful not to swear or to use Divine Names
casually (see 156:1) and not to slander anyone (see 606:3), and should
rebuke sinners when possible (see 608:2; Yoreh De'ah 334:48). If a person
must sleep during the day, he should take only a brief nap; see 231:1.
Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 Project
MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:
Learning to Love What Is!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761
Seeing Punishment as Blessing
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5765
Mourning on the 9th of Av: The Reasons
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757
Where Have You Been?
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766
Why Should We Remember?
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5768
A New Chapter
Shlomo Katz - 5771
Who Makes Up The Rules?
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5759
The Reuven/Gad Syndrome
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773
Oath of Office
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5759
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760
His Private Path
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766
'I Didn't Take Your Spoons!'
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759
The Nine Days of Mourning
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758
Learn from Your Past!
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5762