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 It is now close to ten months since our congregation initiated a second morning prayer service to begin at 7:45 AM. The main morning prayer service was and is at 6:45 AM. This early time proved very inconvenient to me and to a few others and hence the synagogue graciously allowed for a second morning prayer service later in the morning to accommodate us.

Over the time that this second prayer service has taken place in our congregation, I do not recall one morning where we did not have the necessary 10 people for the service to take place. There were many close calls and many times I despaired that we would find that 10th person to complete our core. But every time somehow 10 people did eventually show up and join us for morning prayers.
What to me is amazing is that, to the best of my knowledge, this prayer service has never had the same people each day. Naturally there are those who travel away for a specific occasion or who are unfortunately under the weather and are missing from the regular morning service. And I find it amazing that we always have different people who comprise our core on a regular daily basis.
Some of these people I recognize from the neighborhood and they must have a particular reason that morning for attending our synagogue instead of where they usually pray. Many of the people who comprise our quorum are one-timers that I do not know and perhaps will never again encounter in our synagogue. They always seem to show up just when we need them and help to contribute to our unbroken streak of regular morning services.
Every synagogue, and every prayer service, has its own good fortune. Even in times of bad weather this winter, our morning prayers never missed a beat, though I will certainly admit that there were a few times when my pessimistic nature got the better of me and I felt that the necessary ten-person quorum would somehow not be met. Yet, someone always showed up to pray with us and make up the necessary quorum.
Many of these wonderful people just came, prayed and left without saying a word or identifying themselves. It was as though they dropped from heaven to pray and then went about their daily tasks. Sometimes I have felt that one of these most necessary strangers who frequented our services was really an incarnation of the prophet Elijah. In Jewish tradition and legend, Elijah shows up when necessary in order to help individual Jews and the Jewish people generally.Elijah never looks like Elijah. He comes in various forms and shapes, sometimes appearing as a drab beggar and sometimes as a distinguished stranger from a far distant land. But as far as our morning minyan is concerned, he always does show up.
So, in my mind, this 7:45 AM morning prayer service is a miracle ‘minyan.’ Every morning I arrive with an air of anticipation, trepidation and a touch of occult mystery. Who is going to show up this morning to pray with us? Is this morning going to produce the 20 or more people that we sometimes have, or will we have to sweat it out in order to produce the minimum of ten men? Usually, when I arrive about 15 minutes before the service is scheduled to begin, the situation always looks bleak. But by the time 7:45 AM rolls around, somehow there is a quorum or at least a good prospect of a core so that we can begin on time.
I have decided that this exercise in anticipation is really a test of faith and hope. I am convinced that there are more than enough people available so that the quorum for this prayer service can easily be guaranteed without stress and worry. However, that would diminish the reward for the establishment and continuation of this second prayer service in the morning, for things that come easily are not usually of great worth or appreciable longevity. We all need a reminder that miracles do happen to us daily, even if they go unnoticed and unappreciated. Perhaps now that I have revealed that this 7:45 AM prayer service is a special ‘minyan,’ more people will avail themselves of the opportunity to share this miracle.
Shabbat shalom
Berel Wein

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