Our Lifeline As everyone can see we live in uncharted and quite dark times. Despite the inundation of messages and videos of supposedly experts that “explain” the sudden world crisis, our quest for answers and understanding remain unanswered. Our great Nation has had dark ages and tests of all sorts, the answer and salvation has always been the same, Hashem and the Torah. The Zohar states that Hashem, Israel and the Torah are One! This is a critical bond for our very existentiality. It is the secret of our sustainability through the ages amongst enemies which fierceness and hatred, which outdid one another. Without this bond the Nation of Israel would not last a single day. The Talmud [Berochos 61b] recounts: Once, the wicked government [of Rome] decreed that the Jewish people were forbidden to study Torah. Pappus ben Judah saw Rabbi Akiva convening gatherings in public and teaching Torah. He told him: “Akiva, are you not afraid of the government?” Rabbi Akiva replied: “I’ll give you a parable. “A fox was walking along a river and saw fish rushing to and fro. He asked them: ‘What are you fleeing?’ “they replied: ‘The nets that the humans spread for us.’ “The fox told them: ‘Why don’t you come out onto the dry land? We’ll live together, as my ancestors lived with your ancestors.” “The fish replied: ‘Are you the one of whom it is said that you are the wisest of animals? You’re not wise, but foolish! If, in our environment of life we have cause for fear, how much more so in the environment of our death!’ 990 NE 171 Street | North Miami Beach, Florida 33162 | (305) 405-9692 | www.badatzmiami.com “The same applies to us said Rabbi Akiva. If now, when we sit and study the Torah, of which it is said [Deuteronomy 30:20], ‘For it is your life and the lengthening of your days,’ such is our situation, how much more so if we neglect it . . .” Isn’t it strange that Rabbi Akiva elected to give his lectures in Public despite the Roman edict? Couldn’t he gather his students in a hidden cave to give his lectures? Why did he elect to endanger his life and the life of his students by blatantly defying the Roman’s decree? Wasn’t he obliged by the Torah to safeguard his life? The Medrash [Yalkut Shimoni Eikev] recounts; An elderly woman once came to Rabbi Yosi ben Chalafta and said, “I’m very old. My life has become unpleasant. I can’t taste food or drink, and I would like to pass away.” Rabbi Yossi said to her, “What Mitzva do you do every day?” She replied, “I go early every day to the synagogue even if it means leaving an enjoyable activity.” Rabbi Yosi instructed her to stop attending synagogue for three days. She did this and subsequently passed away. Thus, we see that praying in a synagogue with a minyan is a segulah for long life. The Zohar underlines: “A person should make every effort to pray in a Shul with a minyan. Hashem never rejects the prayers of a congregation, even if sinners are amongst them. Even if the prayers are said without the proper concentration. When a person prays with a congregation, his prayers will be heard. On the other hand, if he prays alone, Hashem immediately Judges that individual, as it’s a form of brazenness to address the Kings of Kings in an unproper manner. Since, there are no “Just that have not sinned”, his prayer will be deemed the as a prayer of a sinner and be rejected. It is so important to pray with a minyan that the Zohar adds: the merit of praying with a minyan, one will make a living more easily and be blessed with the fruits of his labor. Even if praying with a minyan causes one financial loss, Hashem will repay him by granting him extra success. The very same way that a person cannot live without breathing, the Jewish People cannot exist without a Minyan to pray Hashem. My intention is not to defy doctor’s advice or the state’s requirement for social distancing. Everyone must abide to these orders as if they were commandments from the Torah. However, there are safe ways to organize pray with a minyan. With the merit of our prayers, this plague should be eradicated and deserve the Mashiach.

By Rabbi Shimon Fridmann

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