#BlogElul 12: Count


This morning I had a humbling experience of the power of community, and the importance of making each person count.

It’s a long weekend here in Manitoba, and indeed in most of North America. It’s been an amazing summer, warm, sunny, just enough rain to keep things green, and NO MOSQUITOES. That’s probably a first around here.

Manitobans love their lakes – even if they don’t own a cottage, they are likely to spend a long weekend somewhere by water, enjoying nature before the snow flies and the cold descends upon us.

So why am I telling you all this? Because this morning, 21 people sacrificed that precious time to make their presence count.

At our prayer services, twice a day at our synagogue, we require a quorum, or minyan, of ten Jewish adults – men and women over the age of 13 and 12, respectively. On most days, we achieve that, but we have been known to fall short of our required number, especially on long weekends.

The quorum is required for several important prayers in the service, including the Mourner’s Kaddish. This is a special prayer that we say on the anniversary of a loved one’s death in the Hebrew calendar, also known as their yahrzeit. Mourning is a communal affair in Judaism – the rabbis understood about the importance of support groups, long before that term existed.

Today, two families in my community required a minyan to help commemorate beloved fathers. The call went out, and the community responded. It was a beautiful sight, rows of people who came together for the purpose of prayer and remembrance.

Every one of them counted.

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