Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Minyan

Rav Yaakov of Amshinov, zt”l, worked to fulfill the mitzvah of pidyon shevuyim. Once, he returned home at an inordinately late hour. It was so late that when he sought a minyan to daven Maariv, it was hard to find anyone who still hadn’t prayed.
Completely nonplussed, the Rebbe ordered his gabbai to go to the local hangout. Any Jews in there would likely not have davened maariv—perhaps not for many long weeks or months! Sure enough the gabbai found several Jews there whom he convinced to complete the minynan. Most of them were so divorced from Yiddishkeit that the gabbai had to provide some kind of head covering so that they could join the minyan.
When the Admor of Amshinov from America, zt”l, told this story he would conclude. “Our sages teach that the Divine presence rests with ten Jews. Even if they are completely wicked, if they join a minyan to daven, the Shechinah rests upon them.”
A similar thing happened in the famous Zichron Moshe shtibel in Yerushalayim. Known for having a minyan even at very late hours, several very busy Jews found that there is no guarantee of a minyan at all times. When they poured out their heart to Rav Gutfarb, the gabbai, he presented a very simple solution to their problem. He dialed a local cab company which only employed Jewish drivers and ordered a whole bunch of taxis. When they got there he met them and asked them to put on a kipah, turn on the meter, and join the minyan in prayer. Of course there were exactly enough drivers to make up a minyan and after a very enthusiastic davening Rav Gutfarb asked them what he owed them for the privilege of making a minyan. Not one driver would take a penny. Instead they thanked him. One remarked that perhaps they owed him.
He wondered aloud, “Do you know how long it’s been since I have been in a shul...?”

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