Prayer Tools: Maharam Schiff: Synagogue Conversations
The 20th of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Meir (ben Yaakov) Schiff, the Maharam Schiff (1608-1644). Born in Frankfurt am Main, he became Rav of the nearby town of Fulda at the age of 17. His chiddushim on the Talmud are terse, incisive, and profound. In 1644, he was appointed Rav of Prague, but he died at the age of 36 shortly after his arrival
there. [6 Nissan according to Yated 2007]
We can derive the following from the Zohar: A person who converses during prayers causes three levels of damage:
- He demonstrates that there is distance between Israel and their Father in Heaven, when he separates from the words of his prayers. He also causes separation between the parts of his Higher Soul, his soul and his body, and the connection between his soul and God.
- He weaken the level of faith in the world. He will surely miss opportunities to respond Amen, an acknowledgement of the truth of a blessing. He lacks faith in the power of his prayers.
- His actions are a declaration that he has no portion in the God of Israel, for who can stand before God and converse as if He is not present. (Derashot, Tisha B’Av, at the end of Chiddushei Halachot Maharam Schiff, Volume II)