By CJ Ross
I have not missed davening shachris in shul, since February 1st 2016. I can tell you that with certainty, because that was the day, I resolved to making sure, I would always get to shul for shachris. I am so committed to be getting to shul, that even when I travel, I book my tickets around finding a Minyan for Shachris!
Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes show up late or leave before the last Kaddish, however, I have NOT missed a shachris in shul, in over 2 years! You see, it was never really that important to me to make sure I got to minyan each and every morning. With working several jobs, raising a family, and the regular pressures in life, I believed I needed that extra time in bed each morning.
Over the years, my wife patiently would remind me of the importance of going to minyan (sometimes not so patiently). You know the drill. She would say something like, “If you had to meet the President or even your boss, would you blow it off to sleep a bit more?” That argument never really worked on me, because the chances of having an early AM meeting with the “Donald” or even my wonderful boss, were slim.
My wife was raised seeing her father leave the house each morning before 5 AM (he would open the shul, put on the lights and say Tehillim each morning). This month he will turn 84, (עָד מֵאָה וְעֶשְׂרִים) and he still is the first to get to shul each morning! My wife’s persistence and my admiration for her, is what led me to make the commitment. It is truly thanks to her, that I have stayed the course!
This morning I arrived at 770 as I usually do, for the 620 minyan. Since its close to Pesach, and 770 is being cleaned, we davened in the courtyard. When it was time for Krias Hatorah, we all assumed that a Torah would appear. After chatzi Kaddish, the Gabbai turned to us and said, that 770 was “locked” and we couldn’t get access to the Sifre Torah. People starting grumbling, “That Rasha it’s all his fault” or “What a chutzpah ‘they’ have”. The Gabai instructed the chazan to keep davening and we skipped Krias Hatorah today!
People started scrambling: I observed one fellow trying to call someone who had a Torah in his home to see if he could bring it over. Another, tried in vain to force the door open. Alas, ALL the Torahs were locked away and no matter how much pleading and bargaining, the cleaners refused to allow us access to the Torahs.
I don’t have the answer or the solution to this problem, but I do have some questions that may hopefully push our thinking and prevent this from ever happening again.
How is it possible that a handful of people who can barely speak English, are left to their own devices and have the power to lock down 770 and refuse a request for accessing a Torah?
Who is in charge of this talented crew and why wasn’t he called?
Surely, he must have known that we would need a Sefer Torah this morning!
Why didn’t he prepare a Sefer Torah for our the long established Minyan?
How do we prevent this from happening again next year?
If it does happen, who can we call to get a Torah on such short notice?
Finally, what would the Rebbe’s response be if he was davening with us at the minyan? Would he have scaled some walls, (think Tashlich) in order to get us a Torah?
—The author is a resident of the Shechuna and a not so frequent contributor to COLlive.com