Quote of the Day: The Morning Minyan

“Where can one go to see both freedom and unity in action? Go the morning minyan.

Jews pray in a peculiar way. Walking into the service one would think that each individual is wrapped not only in a tallit but in his or her own world. Each is mumbling, turning pages, swaying and then, miraculously, everyone stands and says the same thing in temporary unison. Each then lapses back into private prayer.

This is a model for a healthy polity. Everyone does what he or she wants, but is bound by the same larger aim, and acts as a whole when needed. So I may not know what you had for breakfast or do for a living, but we vote, pay taxes and stop at the red light in the same way, or should. I can’t keep up with your Amidah, but we stood together at Barchu.

Of course to pray this way requires a lot of Jewish education. It is remarkable, however, how quickly regular attendance can give you the feel of the minyan’s rhythm. This tight community endures though its members revolve, some steadfast, some sporadic. It reminds me of what my teacher, Rabbi Simon Greenberg, once told me about the minyan: it is where Jews pray alone together.”

-Rabbi David Wolpe,, from his weekly “Off the Pulpit.”

About Rabbi Joshua

I'm a Rabbi, writer, thinker, mountain biker, father and husband ... not necessarily in that order. According to my wife, however, I'm just a big nerd. I have degrees in dead languages and ancient stuff. I have studied in various Jewish institutions, including an Orthodox yeshiva in Europe. I get in trouble for making friends with perfect strangers, and for standing on chairs to sing during Shabbos dinner. In addition to being the Senior Rabbi of Beth Emunah Messianic Synagogue in Agoura Hills, CA, I write regularly for several publications and speak widely in congregations and conferences. My wife is a Southern-fried Jewish Beltway bandit and a smokin' hot human rights attorney... and please don’t take offense if I dump Tabasco sauce on your cooking.
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1 Response to Quote of the Day: The Morning Minyan

  1. Joshua says:

    The idea that both the community and the individual determine the expression of that individual's prayer life is not solely an attribute of Jewish prayer, however the involvement of the community in one's personal prayer life is so stressed in Jewish culture, one could say that Judaism expresses prayer in a way that connects people to the community in very intimate ways, not always found in other cultures (particularly mainstream American culture). The fact that this connection to the community is not only stressed in prayer life, but in many other aspects of a Jewish lifestyle, one can say that the practice of Judaism creates strong communities in ways that other cultures or religions structurally may not be able to.Moral: FIND A PLACE TO DAVEN!!! 🙂

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