Returning home

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Synagogues are opening in Israel this morning. Congratulations. The following was written by Rav Avinadav Avocart for his community in Givat Shmuel:

“It’s difficult to describe how good it is to walk away from the destruction that we have experienced during the past months. I do not hesitate to use the word ‘destruction’ – the loss of livelihood for many of us, the sickness and pain among weak and vulnerable populations, the undermining of family and community life. But after all the destructions in the history of our people, buildings were rebuilt. Every time our world was shattered, people resettled and started over again. At this time, I would only wish to suggest one way of building anew – in the area of synagogue prayer.

First, our prayer needs to be more uplifting and more precise. They say that Rav Yinon Hori, after a prolonged sickness, would go from one minyan to the next at the Itzkovitch synagogue (minyanim are held there around the clock) in Bnei Brak to seek out opportunities to say kaddishes and amens. Not everyone is able to seek out even one additional kaddish or amen but all of us can try harder to increase our concentration when praying and to take greater care in preserving the holiness of the synagogue.

We must not allow ourselves to come back to the synagogue as if we had only left it yesterday. We have been waiting expectantly for this return not only to the synagogue, but to Torah classes, to community prayer, and to reading from a Torah scroll, and so we must not let this expectation go to waste. We must return to synagogue prayer with deep appreciation for the reminder we were given of the community’s importance. Let’s take advantage of this opportunity of return and renewal in order to draw closer to Hashem and to the members of our community. Let’s not return to the synagogue with hesitation or confusion, with apathy or out of habit. Let’s return with a feeling of elevation, raising our voices with indomitable strength.”

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