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A person realises during his quiet Amidah, that he has not turned off his mobile phone.

He is worried lest it ring while he is praying.

On the other hand, turning it off will interfere with his prayers.

What should he do?

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    "On the other hand, turning it off will interfere with his prayers". Him worrying "lest it ring while he is praying" isn't already interfering?
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 15, 2014 at 16:20

4 Answers 4

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In Lma'an Yishme'u #267 (page 2) Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin says that it is a Halachic obligation to quiet or turn off a cell phone before starting to Daven.

If he did not, and his cell phone rings, he is allowed to quiet or turn off the phone to ensure that no one will be disturbed further.

Although he doesn't specifically address a situation where it hasn't rung yet, you just remember and it disturbs you, he does address similar situations - your Tallis fell off or a sefer fell on the floor. In those cases, if they disturb your concentration, you are allowed to address them in-between Brachos (put on the Tallis, pick up the Sefer). So I would imagine that the same applies to the cell phone in the situation you describe - quiet or turn it off in-between Brachos.

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  • What if it is a cell phone which is emergency only and rings maybe once a month and few people have the number and you have no reason to suspect it will ring or be distracted by worrying about it?
    – Double AA
    Sep 15, 2014 at 16:58
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    @DoubleAA, if you are asking about the first paragraph, although he doesn't specifically say, he was pretty obviously addressing a standard cell phone situation, not some emergency phone.
    – Yishai
    Sep 15, 2014 at 17:35
  • I don't mean like a EMT on call. I mean like a businessman whose personal line is only called very very rarely.
    – Double AA
    Sep 15, 2014 at 17:39
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    @DoubleAA, same difference - that isn't the situation he is addressing. He is addressing the usual cell phones that people have.
    – Yishai
    Sep 15, 2014 at 17:39
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    @DoubleAA, did you read what he wrote? He isn't making any scary pronunciations. Not that I see anything wrong with that, as there are many such examples in Shas and Shulchan Aruch. Regarding landlines and doorbells - you can just arrange to be in a place that isn't distracting, which is what the point is. How far you have to go will depend on the likelihood of distraction and the feasibility of avoiding it, I'm sure.
    – Yishai
    Sep 15, 2014 at 18:51
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Turning off/muting a phone should take about 10 seconds, and disturb no one else.

A phone ringing 5-6 times before going to voicemail will really disturb anyone else in the area. Therefore, I would say that the person should turn it off - his prayers are already disturbed by concern over forgetting to deal with the phone. No one has ever been struck by lightning over a 10 second pause in the praying, the dagger eyes you will get from anyone else in the room will seem very similar.

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  • Whether one should turn off the phone wasn't the question. The question is what the halachic issues are. If you think there are no halachic issues, then say that (but we know that's not true because there is an issue mentioned in the question). Otherwise, explain the issues and then explain why one should nevertheless silence his phone.
    – Daniel
    Dec 24, 2014 at 13:07
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The Gemarrah in Berachos says that if a person is in a rush he can daven Amidah while walking down the street if necessary, as long as he doesn't talk. Certainly muting a phone isn't worse than walking down the street.

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  • It also says that Eden if a snake is wrapped around your foot you shouldn’t stop in middle of Shmone Eisrei
    – Chatzkel
    Jul 28 at 1:48
  • The Gemarrah explains that Mishnah, @Chatzkel to mean if it's a non dangerous snake, you should continue to daven. However if it's a dangerous snake that could potentially injure you, you should take it off. If you keep reading the sugyah you'll find what I said. Berachot 33a-b
    – Jon
    Aug 2 at 11:05
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(או"ח צז) אם נשמט טליתו ממקומו יכול למשמש בו ולהחזירו, אבל אם נפל כולו אינו יכול לחזור ולהתעטף בו, דהוי הפסק. there are plenty sources that could be used to say it is ossur, however there are others that would denote heter. bottom line i think that one must switch it off, as i wrote above. its not all about sources, its about understanding and feeling what the torah expects of us! since the question was "what should he do" this was answered in another answer which was deleted for some reason

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