Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was at shul on Sunday, not during a service, but during a meeting. A parent and child were sitting in front of me. The small child's legs were far too short to reach the floor, and her feet were kicking the siddurim in the rack on the back of the seat in front of her, repeatedly. I could not see her face, but she seemed to be doing it on purpose and enjoying it. Her parent was sitting right there, and cannot possibly have missed seeing this, but did nothing as it continued for several minutes. I don't think anyone else could see what was happening. It was bothering me immensely, but I could not decide whether to speak up and potentially embarrass the parent, or stay silent and allow this disrespect to continue. In the end, I kept my mouth closed. Several days later, I still cannot decide whether I did the right thing.

Would it be proper to correct a child such a situation?

share|improve this question
Of course for practical questions refer to a Rav. – Hacham Gabriel Aug 14 '13 at 4:20
It's nice to see someone be considerate of others in this situation instead of acting on impulse and cause potential embarrassment for a mother. There's this ethical teaching in business of, "Give praise in public, and criticism in private." I think this applies to Judaism too. Instead of creating a ruckus in the middle of a situation, try to speak to the parent afterwards. Open up with some idle chatter, mention that she has a lovely child, but firmly (but not harshly) mention that he/she was kicking the siddurim, and then conclude that she has a lovely child. That's how I'd handle it. – rosenjcb Aug 14 '13 at 4:24
In addition to what rosenjcb said, to handle it "in the moment" you could quietly ask the parent if he's aware that this is happening. Even if you think what's happening is ok, when somebody says "are you aware of...?" that can trigger a "wait, why would he ask me about that unless he thinks there's a problem?" reaction, which can be enough. Of course some won't pick up on that and, sadly, some might not care, but it's what I would try if I wanted to make it stop now instead of just trying to prevent a future occurrence. – Monica Cellio Aug 14 '13 at 14:36

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.