Replying Promptly To Phone Calls, Emails, Letters

By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

I don’t know about you, but I am disturbed by those who do not respond to letters, email, or return phone calls within a reasonable time frame. In fact, in the event of a first time correspondence, it is the only gesture that allows me a feeling of that person’s level of derech eretz.

It seems that I am not the only one who views failing to respond to others in a timely manner as distasteful behavior. Rabbi Chaim Palagi writes:[1]

"Derech eretz kodma l’torah….Therefore, one who has received a letter from a friend should respond immediately as there are a number of prohibitions which one may violate by not responding in a timely manner. Responding to a correspondence is basic derech eretz, and causing one to long for a response has the potential to cause that person long term health concerns… It may just be that the one’s reply has the ability to lead to having a mitzva performed… Not responding causes the one who sent the letter great pain waiting for his needs to be addressed. It is also cruel and a sign of arrogance. He who judges the world will pay back such people midda k’neged midda. I myself have sent letters to many prominent people, and those who did not answer my letters fell to unfortunate circumstance."

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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