Allow me to introduce you to Shimon. Shimon is a fellow who davens in a shul in my neighborhood. I only know Shimon by sight -- to the point where I have no idea what his name actually is (for all I know, it really could be Shimon). He seems to be an affable fellow -- he comes to shul with a smile on his face and is well-liked by his fellow congregants. I've never seen him upset about anything. He sits in the back of the shul with a few friends.
This past Friday night, I was davening in that selfsame shul. Although I don't normally daven in that shul, I do find myself there on Friday nights sometimes - very often sitting near or next to Shimon.
This past Friday night, Shimon came in late -- and when I say late, I mean very late. He arrived at shul after Borchu. OK, so he came late -- we all do it from time to time. Perhaps he had some minor emergency that needed to be taken care of. Perhaps he was helping someone else with last-minute Shabbos preparations. Let's be dan l'kaf z'chus here.
After he arrives and grabs a siddur, he then proceeds to quickly daven Mincha, opens his siddur to Kabbolos Shabbos, davens a paragraph or two -- and then begin talking to three other people at the same table. And so it goes -- he quickly davens a paragraph or two and then goes back to the conversation. Through all this, in the time that the congregation davened Ma'ariv, he davened Mincha, Kabbolos Shabbos and Ma'ariv -- and spent about 50% of the time talking to his neighbors.
Finally, after davening, he gets ready to leave. He grabs his siddur and heads to the bookcases and doors. His friend reaches for the hand that holds his siddur. "Just leave it there for tomorrow morning," he says.
"No," replies Shimon. "It's a segulah for parnassah to put your siddur away after davening."
Now, I have no idea if this is a legitimate segulah or not -- but let's say, for the sake of argument, that is. Talk about missing the forest for the trees! He arrives late to davening, barely prays at all -- and when he does he interrupts it with unnecessary conversation -- and then thinks that putting his siddur back on the shelf is somehow going to grant him extra income. How about spending more time and attention and showing greater respect to the prayers and the One to whom you are praying? It's Him -- not the siddur on the shelf -- that provides your parnassah. I somehow find it hard to believe that God looks favorably on the act of putting the siddur back on the shelf after showing active disrespect for God, His prayers and services and the fellow congregants who are trying to daven undisturbed by unnecessary conversation. I'd be willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that God would be far more pleased if you arrived on time, didn't talk through davening and simply left your siddur on the table at the end of davening.