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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
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An Unseemly Hour


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To be sure, I was a little more tired that day than usual. But the satisfaction of having helped the rabbi gave me a boost, and, as much as I didn’t want to admit it, so did davening with nine other Jews.

As I set my alarm that night for 7 a.m. the next morning, I hoped that the required 10 men would gather the following morning to form a minyan. I told myself that that wasn’t my problem, since I had done what I was asked to do. My last waking thought: now I can sleep!

I awake at 5:30 a.m. (any message here?), and exult at the thought of rolling over and falling back asleep. But for some reason I can’t.

I think of my rabbi, but this time he is not sitting in a chalet with his wife in front of a crackling fireplace. No, he’s putting on his tallis and tefillin at the ski lodge and he has a worried look on his face. He’s thinking, “Will my shul get a minyan?”

Then I think about how awake I am, unable to fall back to sleep. I recall how, despite seemingly impossible odds, I had pulled myself from under the covers and made it to minyan the day before. Having proven to myself that I could do it the day before, I knew I could do it again today.

My desire strong, I got out of bed. And once again, I was out the door 25 minutes later. And even though it was still colder than the prior morning, nothing was going to stop me now.

I made the minyan regularly during the rest of the rabbi’s absence. When he returned, he seemed genuinely moved when I told him of my achievement.

Since then, I’ve attended minyan week after week and year after year. For the most part I’ve been making Shacharis minyan for the last 20 years – on hot and cold days, and those in-between.

Had the rabbi asked me to commit to minyan attendance for the whole week, I probably would have done nothing. But he didn’t ask for much, so I went the distance.

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