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Carrying A Weapon Into A Shul

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Carrying a Weapon into a Shul.doc (1.6 MB)

 

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To learn and discuss wether one is allowed to enetr a shul with a weapon - an important question for soldiers and the civilisation in Israel today who carry guns with them 24 hours a day.

Source sheet with the following sources:

Gemara Tractate Brachot 8a

Gemara Tractate Brachot 54b

The Beit Yosef who quotes the Mahram MaRotenberg who was the first Rishon to mention the problem of entering a shul with a weapon.


Summary of Last Shiur

Eating is permissible in a Shul only when it is considered a Seudat Mitzva.

Introduction

We will discuss one last question with regards to the kedusha of a shul. Is one allowed to walk into a shul with a gun? This question is a very important one for soldiers and even for the civilian population in Israel today, who carry guns with them 24 hours a day.

Chevruta

Have chanichim learn the following sources:

Gemara Tractate Brachot 8a

Gemara Tractate Brachot 54b

The Beit Yosef who quotes the Mahram MaRotenberg who was the first Rishon to mention the problem of entering a shul with a weapon.

Questions for Discussion

Where did the Mahram derive this halacha?

Compare both Gemaras. Are they talking about the same halacha?

Learn

The Mahram derived his halacha from the gemara that claims that prayer makes people live longer and a knifes (or any weapons) purpose is to shorten someones life. Point out to chanichim that from both gemaras we learn that davening has the power to extend our life span. But there is an important difference between them:

Brachot 8a: prayer in a shul makes life longer

Brachot 54b: prayer in general makes life longer

The difference between them (nafka mina) is if the issur is only to enter a shul with a weapon or if it is to pray with the weapon on you?

From the fact that the Shulchan Aruch brought the halacha in Hilachot Beit HaKnesset, we can assume that the main problem is that bringing a weapon into the shul desecrates the kedusha of the shul, in addition to the reason brought in the Gemara in Brachot.

The Taz on our halacha in the Shulchan Aruch raises a similar case to ours. There is a halacha in the halachot of Birkat HaMazon which requires to cover the bread knife before bensching (the reason is that a table is like an altar whose purpose is to extend life not to shorten it). The Taz points out that our halacha specifically claims that only a long knife needs to be covered. While bensching, the halacha simply writes: knife! Why the difference?

The Taz answers that there is no problem with covering a large knife in bensching but in a shul, when it is a tircha to leave your weapon outside- the law only applies when it is a big weapon which is not usually used.

Rav Ovadia Yosef, basing himself on this Taz, says that when it is difficult to leave a weapon outside (like in the army) you are allowed to enter a shul with the weapon.

Read Rav Ovadias conclusion with chanichim.



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