Friday, October 6, 2006

Pay to Pray?

I guess I've been here in Israel "too long." The "ticket holders only" policy to enter places of prayer (synagogues on the holiest days of the Jewish year, Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur,) seems so foreign, thank G-d. Also the prices charged are sometimes more than Broadway orchestra seats, and there's no intermission!

The Weekly Megillah gave this link to an article about a trend in the states to offer special free services, though in many cases, it's just a "taste" of prayer, not the real thing.

Our local synagogue is usually very crowded, at the the Ezrat Nashim, Women's Section, is, so if we have guests or more daughters than seats, there's lots of jockeying for places. The only empty ones are of those who either went away or are sitting downstairs in the extra section or decided to pray in a different Shiloh minyan.

This year our niece, who is studying in RBS came for Yom Kippur, and I wanted to make sure that she'd have a place to sit, in which she wouldn't be bothered, easier said than done. I asked someone who only sometimes shows, being busy with young kids, but she wasn't sure and thought that her older daughters may want the seats. Being forced to periodically change seats can be very disturbing for some. It would drive me crazy.

Then, by chance, but we all know that "b'mikre" really means that G-d directed it to happen... just before the fast I saw the neighbor, who sits right in front of me, walking by so I asked her if she's really here for Yom Kippur.

"Yes, but I'll be dovening in the yeshiva."
"and what about your daughters?"
"probably the yeshiva, why?"
"Our niece needs a seat."
"She can have mine as long as my daughter doesn't want it. If you don't hear from me, it's yours."


Perfect. Niece was able to doven Kol Nidre, Shacharit, Musaf undisturbed. When we came in for Mincha I saw my friend sitting in another seat. She pointed to hers to indicate that she would be fine and the niece should continue in hers.

She certainly began the year with a great mitzvah.

Chag Sameach

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