The Avodah of Just Going to Shul

One of the inspirational speakers tells a story about a guy who came to Shul during the week and started to shmooze before he put on his tallis and tefillin. He continued to shmooze with a few different people, and the minyan ended, and he left with everyone. He forgot that he didn’t even daven. It sounds like a crazy story, but I can remember times that I came to Shul preoccupied with a problem. It was difficult to push the problem out of my mind, and what I did during that minyan might just barely be classified as davening.

It sounds incriminating, but if you think about it, just going to Shul is a part of the Avodah. When we had the Beis HaMikdash, men made Aliyas HaRegel and had to journey to the Temple. It was a big thing to just make the journey, and in our times, people who go to Shul regularly are also doing a big thing. Of course it’s important to daven, but we shouldn’t neglect the avodah of just going to Shul.

Now we have been cut off from that aspect of our Avodah and it’s difficult for us. We are longing just to make the journey to Shul. The thought of the power of the journey might be a good one to keep in mind, because when the Shuls open it’s going to be a very different experience, based on the guidelines that have come out. Even on Shabbos, we can expect quick, small, staggered, no-frills minyanim, with a streamlined leining for a total time of less than an hour.

So when any minyan reopens, no matter what its format, savor every step, as we will, G-d willing, once again have the avodah of just going to Shul.