When we offer words of consolation to mourners in Jewish tradition, we say, “HaMakom yinachem etchem btoch shaar avlei tzion virushalayim. May God, HaMakom (The Place), comfort you among all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” Often, I have wondered why we draw on this particular name of God as “The Place,” when seeking to comfort mourners.
I want to share one response that I learned from friend and colleague, Shuli Passow. The Talmud teaches that the Shekhina (Divine presence) comes to dwell where ten people gather in one place. This suggests that when a minyan physically comes together, it is an act powerful enough to summon God’s presence. It is in this place and embrace of community that we may find comfort in the midst of loss.
Here in our “community of communities” at GJC, we are blessed to have a morning minyan that comes together three times a week, each Sunday, Monday and Thursday. It is a supportive space where we gather to pray, to reflect and to support one another as we mourn losses, say kaddish, go through different life passages and start a new day or week. When we join with each other in community, we help God to become HaMakom, “the comforting presence,” working through us.
As we move into the winter months, we need your support to ensure that we can continue to make a minyan. Please make a commitment to join us for morning minyan if and when you are able to do so. Your presence makes a difference!