375 Aberdeen Ave., Hamilton, ON L8P 2R7 | 905-522-1351 | office@bethjacobsynagogue.ca

Minyan Matters


Dear Friends,

When we read this week about the Israelites finishing the construction of the Mishkan (tabernacle) in the desert, the Torah proudly states, “They said to Moses, ‘The people are bringing more than is needed…’ Moses commanded, and they spread word through the camp saying, ‘Nobody do anything else’… and the people stopped bringing things. The work was more than sufficient for all their needs.” (Exodus 36:5-7).

We often experience similar phenomena when shuls like ours have exciting, new projects to be done. Everyone wants to take part. Finding volunteers and donations for the regular, day-to-day efforts required to keep the institution going, though, are sometimes a little more difficult. Beth Jacob is a uniquely blessed shul. Our members are fantastically active, and happily pull together to support one another whenever asked to do so.

Recently we’ve had more of a need to ensure that our ongoing daily prayer services have a proper Minyan at each service, because a number of our members recently lost a parent and want to be able to say Kaddish every day. Those of us who have been in their shoes know how preciously appreciated it is when our friends come out to help us honour our loved ones according to our ancient tradition. Those of us who have not yet needed this type of service are comforted knowing that it will be there on that day in the future when we’ll need it. I’m proud to say that when email notices have gone out requesting that people come to the services which usually draw smaller crowds, the response has been tremendous. We’ve been able to allow our attendees the opportunity to say Kaddish at every service. Even for those of us who don’t need to say Kaddish, our days are always transformed for the better when they start out with a short Shacharit service with our friends followed by a cup of coffee, and end, once again, with Mincha/Ma’ariv in the evening.

The Hebrew word for tabernacle, Mishkan, literally translates as ‘dwelling place’, because God promised that when we create the tabernacle, God will dwell among the people Israel (Exodus 25:8). Beth Jacob is our Mishkan here in Hamilton, and when we continue to support it and attend regularly, we can truly sense that God is here among us, giving our lives meaning, and sending us the happiness, comfort and consolation we long for. Please continue to do your part!

Whether you come often or haven’t been to a weekday Minyan in a while, please join us for a special celebratory morning service this coming Monday at 7:45am, which will be followed by a breakfast. We will be celebrating our Minyanaires, and especially wishing a “Shalom ulehitra’ot” (“we’ll miss you; come back soon”) to Paul and Rosalie Gaffe before they return to Florida, a “Mazal Tov” to Michael Sherman on his retirement, and a “Shalom Aleichem” (“welcome back”) to Philip and Maureen Price who will have returned from Israel. All are encouraged to attend.

But lastly, don’t attend Minyan only because it will help others. You are not just the props necessary for those saying Kaddish. Each one of you is a precious addition to our Minyan. It wouldn’t be the same without you.