On an outing with the family, I met a man wearing a yarmulke, with three kids in tow. It turned out he was a rabbi from Los Angeles, on a family vacation. He asked me if I knew anyone interested in helping to make a Minyan (ten men required for communal prayers) later that day for the evening service. I told him that I, my Father-in-Law, and Brother-in-Law would certainly be interested.
We exchanged numbers, and I wasn’t sure anything else would come of it. But a few hours later, I received a text message from this rabbi, listing the time and place for the Minyan. To my surprise, the address led to the club house of the exact resort we were staying at, a mere three minutes walk from our room! As I walked in at 5pm, I was surprised to find over twenty Jewish men preparing to pray the weekday evening service. During our stay, we managed to put together a minyan for six daily services!
The person leading the prayers stood by the pool table, and the sounds from the arcade occasionally interrupted, but during those precious few moments, that club house felt holier than the most ornate synagogue.
This week we read of the momentous occasion of Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. Our holy books tell us that prior to this event, there was a law applied to the cosmos. This law was that spirituality could not dwell in the mundane world, and that in turn, the physical, mundane world could not tap into spirituality. When the Jews gathered at the foot at Mount Sinai and Moses came down with the Ten Commandments, this law was revoked, making it possible to bring spirituality into the world around us.
And that is exactly the job we are charged with. This is why the majority of the Mitzvot center around physical objects (Tefillin, Shabbat candles, Lulav, wine for Kiddush, etc.) By using these objects for a sacred purpose, we elevate them and make them holy. But in my opinion, nowhere can this idea be seen so strikingly than by a group of Jewish people gathering together to transform a ski lodge clubhouse into a place for serving G-d.
Rabbi Akiva Hall