The Cure for Covid Condensed Congregations

Even before Covid, Shuls were downsizing due to Shtiebelization. Covid drove more downsizing, distancing and davening at dizzying speeds. A friend told me that he can get out of bed at 9:30 am, go to the next door davening tent, and be finished with Shabbos Morning davening by about 10:30 am, with a grab and go kiddush to boot. Perhaps there was a pent-up demand for such davening and Covid just paved the way.

Fortunately the famous Ramban at the end of Parsha Bo revealed the vaccine for this situation. He teaches us that the plagues showed the world that G-d is the source of all existence, who knows all, oversees all, is all powerful, shows favor to the Jews, and communicates to us through prophecy. The purpose of all the commandments is that we should believe in G-d and acknowledge to Him that He created us.

And the purpose of raising our voices in prayer and the purpose of Shuls and the merit of communal prayer is that people should have a place where they can gather and acknowledge that G-d created them and caused them to be and they can publicize this and declare before Him, “We are your creations”.

So the cure for Covid Condensed Congregations is to focus on the purpose of our Shuls and think about Hashem, our creator, as we pray and perform the many mitzvos of Shabbos morning. I think we’re all capable of thinking about Hashem a few times each Shabbos. As we succeed, the spiritual pleasure we experience surely exceeds the pleasure from a shortened faster davening.

Hashem provide the vaccine for spiritual malaise during Yetizias Mitzrayim. Shabbos morning we all have an appointment to get inoculated.