Thank you Chavi for a beautiful winning entry:
Within thirty seconds a father and his three sons had walked through the door. They looked up and asked if Silver and Zucker were waiting for a minyan. Their eyes lit up when they heard the response. They had just arrived back from England on a delayed flight and had not gotten to daven yet. Two minutes later a prestigious looking man walked in with the same question. He was a surgeon who had been stuck in a surgery with various complications that kept coming up. Another minute passed before two drenched yeshivah boys came in. They had gone to the north for the day and had gotten very lost on the way back and had been so nervous that they had completely forgotten to daven. In the next five minutes, eight of the nine assembled men kept glancing anxiously at the door. But Silver just smiled a reassuring smile.
And then, a young businessman walked in. He was excited to see the assembled minyan. He had worked extremely late that night in order to make a deadline and was going to daven by himself when he remembered that it was his father’s yahrtzeit.
Zucker’s mouth dropped open. It was less than ten minutes and eight other ordinary people with ordinary stories had walked in to complete their minyan. How had Silver known it would happen?
The next morning, after their early meeting, Zucker asked Silver to explain what had happened.
“Well, it’s nothing really unusual. When I was much younger, business was really bad for me. I couldn’t make ends meet. It was a tough life for me, and I felt like I needed to change something in my life.
Then, one Shabbos afternoon I went to the regular shiur that my rav gives before minchah. He told us a number of stories of how people had committed themselves to certain mitzvos and would never deviate from their commitment. He told us how these people’s lives were saved in miraculous ways, or how their lives simply improved. And, he mentioned how even in the most unlikely situations they were always able to fulfill that commitment. Whether it was kiddush levanah, saying tefillas haderech from a siddur, or simply having more kavanah while saying the brachah of Asher Yatzar.
I thought about that. I knew that I needed to commit myself to something.
You know how something will suddenly ‘hit home’ for you? Well, after minchah I sat down to say pirkei avos. I came across the mishnah ‘Al shlosha devarim ha’olam omeid. Al haTora, al ha’avodah v’al gemilus chasadim.’ That just resounded within me and I started to think. Torah. I’m not very good at that. Well, I can say tehillim and mishnayos. That’s what I was doing every day. But, if I can start to support Torah, now that would be a different direction I could take, but couldn’t afford. Avodah. Well, we all daven. I wanted something unique in that department. I was already working on my kavanah. And then it came to me. I would commit to always daven with a minyan. It was something I’ve tried to be careful about, but never committed to.
And so that is what I did. It wasn’t always easy, but with time things did in deed change. As I began to prosper, I took it upon myself to try and fulfill the rest of the mishnah to the best of my ability. I started to support Torah institutions and do various chasadim secretly.
Once I had made that commitment I’ve found that I never have to wait more than ten minutes for a minyan, no matter how unlikely the situation.”
Zucker was intrigued. Indeed, he needed help in his life to. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to finally settle down and start a family.
Silver noticed his thoughtful distraction throughout the rest of their trip. He, also, was not surprised at Zucker’s new commitment to davening with a minyan.
He was, however, just as surprised as everyone else, when four months later Zucker had gotten engaged.