Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Is God color blind?

A Guest Post by Rafi G

Chevron Granovitch, a haredi columnist, writes about a friend of his who is in the year of mourning for his father who passed away.

Granovitch writes that his friends father worked for a living but studied Torah in his free time. The son as well works for a living, and studies Torah in his free time. he never misses his daf yomi shiur, and he is careful to daven three times a day with a minyan.

Sometimes, over the course of the year, gathering a minyan can be difficult, and you might just scrape out the minyan after a lot of time of waiting for the tenth man.

Granovitch describes something that has happened to this fellow who just wants to be careful to daven with a minyan in his father's memory and say kaddish - just as he successfully gathers the minyan and starts the service, one of the people in the minyan state a protest and say they cannot be part of the minyan. The protest is often something like "Somebody with a trimmed and combed beard cannot lead the services." and sometimes it is that "someone who wears a blue shirt, his prayers will not be heard."

Granovitch obviously feels his friends pain and decries the superficial concerns about shirt color and trimmed beard when there is a neshama waiting for the zchus of having a kaddish said in his memory and an amen said for him.

I don't know what Granovitch expects when workign for a living, and especially wearing colored shirts, is demonized in many yeshivas. Suddenly someone who does those things should be considered part of the community and a worthy person? It goes against everything they have been taught. How can they be sensitive to this mans attempt to find a minyan when they consider him barely religious? The problem starts well before the insensitivity displayed when looking for a minyan.

The fact is though, people who are that extreme are rare. I have seen many minyanim in many places, ad hoc gatherings from the side of the highway to museums and amusement parks, along with shuls in places that are extremely remote to extremely busy. Most of the time people are very accepting of davening with people dressed differently than themselves and the problem Granovitch describes is not extremely common. Though it does happen occasionally that someone will not like the appearance of some of the other people in the minyan and soemtimes even refuse to daven with such people..

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