web analytics
August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



An Unseemly Hour


Lessons-logo

It’s my first moment of wakefulness, and I’m chilled to the bone. Pull the covers over myself, I’m thinking, while I decide to roll over to look at the clock. It’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m exhausted. But I have a blissful joy because I can pull the covers over myself. Yes, I can go back to sleep.

The reset alarm goes off at 7 a.m. and I awake yet again, this time with more energy. I feel a bit warmer and get out of bed. A half-hour later, showered and dressed, I put on my tallis and tefillin, daven Shacharis and drive to work.

After work, I attend shul for Mincha and Ma’ariv. The late afternoon starting time of 4:30 (it’s winter) is much more reasonable than Shacharis at 6:15 a.m. At Ma’ariv’s end, the rabbi announces that his wife wants to go on a skiing vacation. He expresses his desire not to go, and instead learn and teach – all the while helping make the weak morning minyan stronger with his presence. But it’s important that he listen to his wife, so they’re leaving on Sunday.

I have a foreboding that the rabbi is about to ask all of us to make every effort to gather a minyan while he’s away, given the difficulty to do so even when he’s present.

When I think of difficulties, waking up at 5:30 a.m. comes to mind. I practically freeze up when thinking of the prospect of leaving the car at home (there’s no parking near the shul) and walking eight blocks through a biting wind. Please don’t ask this of us, rabbi, as every nerve in my body tells me to go back to sleep.

“I am asking all of you to attend one extra Shacharis minyan next week,” the rabbi implored us. “If you usually come four times, please come five times. If you come once, come twice. If you usually don’t come at all, come to one.”

Leave it to my rabbi to make such a reasonable request. Had he asked us to come every morning, I would have passed it off as pie in the sky and ecstatically slept the extra hour and a half. But since the rabbi has been good to me, I answered in the affirmative when he asked for a show of hands as to who would adhere to his appeal. Attending morning minyan – even once – is the least I could do. The day to fulfill my commitment would be the next day.

Due to considerably less sleep that I’m about to get (rest I could use, as the grind of working in a nursing home takes its physical toll), I am in a bad mood for a while. My disposition improves somewhat when I keep telling myself that it’s only one morning. I’m asleep by about 11 p.m.

Here we go again. I awake at the unseemly hour of 5:30 a.m., and I’m chilled to the bone. I’m exhausted, so I go back to sleep. But a minute later – yes, literally a minute later – the alarm sounds. I squint and wonder if someone is playing a trick on me.

Oh, how I wish that I had amnesia concerning my pledge to the rabbi. But against the will of every bone in my body, I resist the temptation of more sleep – and the warmth and comfort that come with it – and within 25 minutes I’m out the door, tallis and tefillin in hand.

I remember that there is no legal parking near the shul at this time of day, so my trek begins on what I’m convinced is the coldest day of the year.

Quite unfairly, I imagine my rabbi and his wife at a chalet sitting in front of a crackling fireplace. Such thoughts do nothing to ease the pain of the biting wind in my face, which seems to be biting into everything except my resolve to follow through on what the rabbi asked of me.

After what seemed like an eternity of walking (actually 20 minutes), I approached the shul. Walking in, I felt great warmth – both from the wintry weather outdoors and when cheery congregants said good morning and expressed their happiness at seeing me. I don’t think I was ever happier to walk into a synagogue.

I was also glad to be fulfilling my obligation to help make the minyan. And when the last “amen” was said at the davening’s conclusion, I could have danced a jig to celebrate my sense of accomplishment.

As I headed out the shul door, I heard wishes between others to have a good day and how they looked forward to seeing each other the next morning. But this didn’t apply to me, so when I faced the cold biting air I was warmed by the thought of where I would be and what I would be doing in 24 hours.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “An Unseemly Hour”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
ISIS in Quneitra
Updates from Kuneitra, Syria [video]
Latest Judaism Stories
Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

First, how could a beis din of 23 judges present a guilty verdict in a capital punishment case? After all, only a majority of the 23 judges ruled in favor of his verdict.

Of paramount importance is that both the king and his people realize that while he is the leader, he is still a subject of God.

Daf-Yomi-logo

Untimely News
‘A Mourner Is Forbidden To Wear Shoes…’
(Mo’ed Katan 20b)

Questions-Answers-logo

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

When a person feels he can control the destiny of other people, he runs the risk of feeling self-important, significant, and mighty.

Needless to say, it was done and they formed a great relationship as his friend and mentor. He started attending services and volunteered his time all along putting on tefillin.

He took me to a room filled with computer equipment and said, “You pray here for as long as you want.” I couldn’t believe my ears.

On Friday afternoon, Dov called Kalman. “Please make sure to return the keys for the car on Motzaei Shabbos,” he said. “We have a bris on Sunday morning and we’re all going. We also need the roof luggage bag.”

On Chol HaMoed some work is prohibited and some is permitted. According to some opinions, the work prohibition is biblical; according to others, it’s rabbinical.

If there is a mitzvas minuy dayanim in the Diaspora, then why is there a difference between Israel and the Diaspora in the number of judges and their distribution?

Judaism is a religion of love but also a religion of justice, for without justice, love corrupts.

The time immediately preceding Mashiach’s arrival is likened to the birth pangs of a woman in labor.

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

More Articles from Alan Magill
Lessons-Emunah-logo

The simple act of kindness should be the reward itself. Anything more in the form of a reward is gravy.

Lessons-logo

Patience seems to be in such short supply these days, yet it can make a world of difference. This is particularly so in certain kinds of stressful situations whereby we think we only have time to act in a knee-jerk way instead of acting thoughtfully.

I recently heard a Pirkei Avos shiur in which the speaker said that our spiritual DNA derives from our patriarchs and matriarchs. The great tests they withstood and for which they gained ever greater prominence was witnessed by the Jews who followed them, many of whom succeeded in overcoming great challenges as well. It seems that an individual’s great effort helps the spiritual strength kick in.

The first and only time I said I was a rabbi was also the first and only time I had a gun pointed at me. What led me to that moment was my need to stay on the Upper West Side for a Shabbos and a hospitality committee that arranged for me to stay with a man who lived in the former janitor’s apartment on the fifth floor of a synagogue.

It is very important for Jews to first help family, then other Jews close to us, then Jews not as close. Next, if possible and appropriate, Jews should help those of any race or creed.

The five-year-old boy was in a church in Puerto Rico with his parents. As they and his grandparents were Catholics, that made him Catholic – as far as his young mind could figure.

I was preparing a shiur to honor the memory of my father, Paul Magill, a”h, on the 20th anniversary of his passing, and I was looking at that week’s sedrah, Parshas Re’eh. I was struck by the words, “See, I present before you today a blessing and a curse. The blessing: that you hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, that I command you today. And the curse: if you do not hearken to the commandments of Hashem, your God, and you stray from the path that I command you today, to follow gods of others, that you did not know.”

Feeling more alone than at any time since arriving in New York, I looked inside myself for anything that could anchor me to bring me back to who I was, to move away from illusions of romance to my central sticking point. Suddenly and unexpectedly, being a Jew meant more to me than anything else in the world.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/an-unseemly-hour/2012/03/21/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: