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One may not use a Shul as a shortcut (Shulchan Aruch OC 151:5). If one must enter a Shul to call his friend, he should say some pesukim or even sit there for a few moments (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 13:3).

I know of a number of Shuls (and batei medrashot) which have rooms branching off from the Shul, which are only accessible by passing through the Shul. Is it a problem to go to those rooms because he's using it as a "shortcut"? Must he avoid that issue by pausing in the Shul and saying a few pesukim? Or is it not a problem at all, since he is not disrespecting the Shul since the room is only accessible by going through the shul?

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    It's not really a shortcut if it's the only way to get there. – Daniel Mar 20 '17 at 1:19
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    @Daniel I know technically it's not a shortcut, but still it might be an issue because of this issur of using a shul as a shortcut. – Ploni Mar 20 '17 at 1:21
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    Do you enter the sanctuary or just the shul building? I find it hard to believe that someone would build a shul with a room only accessible through the sanctuary. – Scimonster Mar 20 '17 at 7:07
  • @scimonster I have seen Christian churches that had rooms that were only accessible through the sanctuary. – Robert Columbia Mar 20 '17 at 11:00
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    My understanding of the halacha is that one may not enter the shul building itself specifically for use as a "rest stop" unless he pauses in the sanctuary. I may be completely wrong about this assumption, though. There are different rules if one is attending an affair held in some part of the building. Then, you are not using it as a rest stop. – DanF Mar 20 '17 at 16:12
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First: if the rooms were there before the bet hakneset, this is allowed because the presence of the bet hakneset cannot cancel the way to rooms. By the same svara, if they were built milechatechilla in this way it would also be allowed. Shuchan Aruch (OC 151:5) writes:

ואם היה הדרך עובר קודם שנבנה בית הכנסת מותר

And if the path was there before the bet hakneset was built, it is permitted.

If the rooms were added after the bet hakneset, it's as if we decided to change the use of the bet hakneset and to transform its function to a bet hakneset + passage. This is prohibited. Every passage needs to be more than a passage, in way to avoid kapandaria equivalency, that is e.g. to use it against rain or sun, even for a talmid chacham, as the Magen Avraham (OC 151:6) writes:

שאסור ליכנס בה אלא דבר מצוה [רמב"ם] ועס"א {ולא נכנסים בהם בחמה מפני החמה ובגשמים מפני הגשמים}‏

מגן אברהם ס"ק ב': משמע דזה אפי' לת"ח אסור

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