36. Going Visiting Before Shul

8:5 One may not go visiting before praying, even to pop in on a neighbor just to say good morning. The Book of Isaiah (2:22) says to withdraw from other people because what is man? The meaning of this is how can we go out of our way to honor mere humans when we’re heading to shul to honor God? The Mishnah Brurah (89:10) says this even applies to one’s parent or teacher. If one happens to run into a friend, he may greet him, making sure not to get distracted and delayed en route to pray.

8:6 One may not even begin studying Torah after dawn (though if he started earlier, he need not stop so long as there is still time to pray – MB 89:30). If one has a set morning routine to go to shul so that there is no concern that he will miss it, then it is permitted. It is also permitted to have a study group before services if that is the only time possible. In such a case, the merit of the group is very great but they must take care not to run late and miss the minyan.