Honorable Mensch-ion

You Count

As Jews, we count numbers. I will never forget the first time I counted for a minyan after my bar mitzvah. While nothing changed besides one day on the calendar, everything changed. As our good friend Rabbi Jason Fruithandler would often say to our b’nai mitzvah, “You will now be an adult in the eyes of God, not in the eyes of your parents.” The daily minyan is a place where numbers count most. During the last few months, as the minyan has returned to our sacred Kohn Chapel, we have struggled to get the required 10 people to say the prayers of the barchu, kedusha, and the blessings of the Torah. This morning, we reached the number 10. As one of our daily minyan attendees looked at me and said, “Rabbi, we always make it!” This optimistic approach does not happen by itself—it is a partnership between us and God. In an ironic twist, Jewish tradition sees human beings as being too sacred to be counted like sheep. We count dollars and cents, we count a flock, but we do not count human beings. So when do we count? We count when we are present, we count when we show up, we count when we add the quality to our families and communities.

When I was six-years-old, my parents asked me where I wanted to have my birthday party. I responded, “I want my birthday at the minyan.” Surrounded by my minyan buddies–Sol Hodis, Ben Sellinger, Les Buff, and other names and faces I see clearly to this day in my mind decades later, I knew that was the place where we count those who count. Take a few minutes this week. Join our minyan. Walk into the chapel. Say amen to a kaddish. Meet a new friend. Be the tenth.

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