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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Early Minyan

The minyan is sagging. It’s limping along. Most days we’re lucky to get ten guys. More often than not, we’re only able to get 7 or 8, and then we have to drag someone in from the other room where they are learning, or move into that room altogether and “force” them into our minyan. One of our members compared it to an old, beloved but dying car. You really need it, and you’re constantly trying to keep it going just a little longer.

I don’t know if it’s the lackadaisical attitude that comes with summer, or just a general lack of interest. I’m as guilty as the next guy. Without the urgency of saying kaddish, I find it easier to rationalize skipping shul. No, I’m not sleeping in. I just have more patients in the hospital these days, and I need to get going earlier in the morning. I suppose that when I was in mourning I’d cut it a little closer, leave a little later and get in to work just a little later. But these days I can’t justify it.

It still bothers me that people are in the next room learning while we’re struggling to find ten guys to say kaddish or kedusha. It seems to me that if they can get up and be in shul by 5:45 or 6 am, they ought to be able to help us out and then learn afterwards. I realize I’m being selfish here. More likely, these guys would be in bed at that time, and have decided to get up early for the express purpose of learning a little before davening. Kol Hakovod. I just think that if there’s a group of people who need you, and you’re physically capable of helping out, that ought to be the priority.

I’ve developed a bit of a negative attitude to the whole thing, and I’ve been trying to purge myself of it. I actually sent out an email, and rather than complain about the people in the other room, I tried to spin it positively. A little pep talk to get people to show up for our minyan and help those of us who can’t possibly make any other minyan, and then have all the time in the world for learning afterwards. But apparently it fell on deaf ears.

So I guess this is one of those little tests that the Almighty has laid before me. Can I keep my commitment to davening in shul, even without the need to say kaddish? Without a guaranteed minyan? Can I keep a positive attitude towards the learning groups? Can I keep from kvetching about it on the internet?



Ralphie said...

I, too, am shocked that these individuals can't daven first and learn after. But what do I know?

Doctor Bean said...

It is a test placed before you by the Almighty, but it's not testing what you think.

tnspr569 said...

Minyan attendance can serve as a test in many ways. Kol hakavod to you for sending out a positive email, and for putting forth such effort to attend minyan with your busy schedule.

Seriously, by all means kvetch on the internet; just keep on putting forth that effort for minyan. Whatever it takes.

Safe travels this summer!

PsychoToddler said...

ralphie: Maybe they learn first to help get them more into the proper kavannah for davening. Or maybe they think there's some extra merit for learning before davening. I just don't see how that's a bigger zchus than completing a minyan, especially when you have a mourner with a chiyuv.

But I'm with you. I'm just a modern orthodox apikores. What do I know?

DB: Hmm...cryptic. Perhaps I need to climb to some mountain peak and meditate to understand. Or maybe I need to start a chevrusah before davening.

trspn..tnspr: I figure, once I do my kvetching here, I lose the urge to kvetch in real life. It's better that way.

Anonymous said...

Please forgive me if this seeems unsympathetic, but couldn't you just find another Shul with an early Minyan? (Maybe closer to your place of work?)

Okay, Okay, This might be a much better approach:
You might suggest to the people of the Shiur that if they will agree to doven first and then Learn, then you will sponsor free coffee and donuts (or Maybe even bagels) for anybody who attends both.

This will increase both the Shiur-attendance and the Minyan attendance, and then everybody will Thank You:
Not just for the "freebies" but also for having increased both the Shiur-attendance and the Minyan attendance.
EveryBody Wins ! ! !
(I love CAPitals,
especially when EveryBody Wins ! ! !)

PsychoToddler said...

This is the only 5:45 minyan in the city.

Sorry, I have no choices.

And for the record, my original email did offer booze.

RaggedyMom said...

I'm really curious as to what on earth Dr. Bean could be referring to. Maybe that applies not just to this comment, but in general :) Dr. Bean, are you this much like a magic 8-ball when talking to your patients?

PT, it must be a huge pain having those extra guys riiiighhht theeeere. You should pat yourself on the back for not kicking any of them. At least, that's how it's done back here in Queens. Remember? Sometimes it pays not to have to be that nice all the time.

As a side note, I think it's pretty cool that you can communicate with more or less the entire set of people in and around your minyan via email.

Anonymous said...

(From the previous anono)

5:45 am ?

No wonder you can't get 10 men.

(Even the people in the shiur probably all come late.)

If I come up with any other ideas, I might write again.

Am Kshe Oref - A Stiff-Necked People said...

Then there was the shul in which I used to daven. When the 5:45 minyan needed a couple of guys from the beis medrash to complete a minyan, those guys learning said no because it was assur for them to interrupt their learning to help make a minyan.

How you like them apples? Talk about screwed up priorities...

Anonymous said...

Just for the record many do say it is forbidden to stop learning to help out a minyan, al pi halacha based on poskim not just whims

PsychoToddler said...

I'm assuming that's what they hang their "hats" on. But again, for me that's like observing the letter of the law so they can violate the spirit of the law.

Derech eretz kadma letorah. There's someone there who needs to say kaddish.

Anyway, it's not like it's a secret that we need help. Why can't they schedule their chevrusas for later in the morning and daven first?