Thursday, February 9, 2012


Erev Shabbos Kodesh Parshas Yisro

17 Shevat 5772/February 10, 2012

Man's marimba iPhone ring stops Mahler symphony dead

“Do you ever forget to turn your cell phone off when you go to the movies or to a play? Someone did just that on Tuesday night, January 10, 2012, causing the New York Philharmonic conductor to put down his baton and stop the orchestra.

“Just as conductor Alan Gilbert was leading the orchestra through the final movement of Mahler's 9th, the culmination of the 82 minute long symphony, an audience member's cell phone rang.

"It was more than annoying. It was completely destructive. There was no way the music could go on," said Gilbert. "And I knew it was going to continue, because I have the same ring tone. I use the same tone for my alarm when I wake up in the morning.'

“It was identified as the Marimba ring tone, right in the front row. The maestro did something he has never done in his entire career. He put down his baton and stopped the show.

    In the ensuing pause, some in the audience reportedly called for blood, shouting: "Kick him out!" and "$1,000 fine!"

“Gilbert quietly employed shame until the offender confirmed that the phone was off.

"It's shocking when you do that, because you just don't expect the natural flow of the music to be interrupted, so I said, "I know it's embarrassing to turn it off. You're going to have to admit that it's your phone. Just do it so we can get back to the music.'"

"I think that people need to take that extra second, third look at their phone, because it can be incredibly disruptive, especially like Mahler," said one patron.

“Gilbert received a standing ovation following the performance.

“This was the first time Gilbert has stopped the orchestra for a violation of the "cell-phones off" rule, a media contact at the symphony said, but at least the second time that it has happened in the symphony’s history.”

Our Sages view davening as a symphony of celestial music. After reciting the Pesukei D’zimrah – Verses of Song in which we describe the mellifluous songs that the world sings by its very existence, as well as the melodious songs which flow from our soul, we continue by describing the songs of the myriads of angels before the Throne of Glory. Following that we recite the Shemoneh Esrei, our own private song of praise, supplication, and gratitude to our Creator.

There is no greater song than tefillah. If a ringing cell-phone was enough to cause the conductor to pull the brake on an entire symphony, what about a ringing cell-phone in the middle of davening?

To add, what would have happened if the fellow at the philharmonic would have answered his phone and made some grunting noises to show that he couldn’t talk at that moment? What about if he would’ve answered and replied in a rude undertone for a minute before hanging up?

Mahler’s 9th couldn’t handle the obnoxious interruption, should our 3 prayers each day be any less?

Shabbat Shalom & Good Shabbos,

R’ Dani and Chani Staum