Ten men in the yard
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Ten men in the yard

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n an attempt to return to some form of normalcy, and in conjunction with CDC guidelines, prayer services have returned. Woo hoo!

Yup, for all of you devout synagogue-goers, gone are the mornings when you can sleep a little later. Now, I totally agree with those rabbis who have not yet given the thumbs-up to their congregants to allow them to start these “backyard minyans.” I am quite hesitant, but no one in my family ever listens to me, so I am now the proud hostess of a socially distant, not more than 18 men, everyone wearing a mask and gloves, standing at least 7 feet apart, no one can come in to use the bathroom or get a drink and is canceled if it is raining minyan.

Boy, that is a mouthful.

This is what I have found to be the most amazing thing of all. Come Sukkos time, I am the one who is cleaning and shlepping the chairs out of their weed-covered hiding spots. I am the one who is dragging the table up the stairs and then outside. No one is around to help. But, miracle of miracles, somehow, my adorable black-hatted son #2 has managed to do all of those things, without me asking, and he even used a tape measure to space the chairs properly. It is amazing what kids can do when it serves their own purpose. But that is just my own observation. I am sure that all of your kids help you all of the time without having to be asked.

I started thinking that if Dr. Seuss were still alive, this would make the perfect book. Ten men in the yard. Okay, technically it is 18, but humor me.

There are 10 men. Ten men in the yard. Ten men say amen. Ten men in the yard. No one shakes hands. Ten men in the yard. Do not kiss the Torah. Ten men in the yard. They must pee in the bushes. Ten men in the yard.

I think it would be an instant classic.

Here is the other fascinating thing that happened. And I have husband #1’s permission to share this. (Don’t get too excited.) We have a wonderful landscaper, who is also my friend from my Teaneck Baseball Organization days (oh so many years ago, when my boys participated in sports). Husband #1 loves him because he is so reasonably priced, which is mainly because he only mows the lawn every other week. This has been a perfect arrangement.

But now that we have minyan in the backyard, husband #1 got to thinking that the grass gets a little unruly in-between mows. So he is actually letting our wonderful landscaper mow the lawn EVERY week… That is right, kids — husband #1, the man who will never pay full price for a bottle of Fanta and still wears the same undershirts from 1992 is going to spring for weekly lawn mowings. It is a Chanukah miracle. Really and truly.

Perhaps this is truly a sign that things will start going back to normal. Or maybe not, one can dream. I am just wondering that if he will start paying to have the lawn mowed every week, what comes next? The new bathroom that we have talked about for years? Cleaning help? Fixing the leak in the basement that allows the leaves to accumulate inside the corner of the basement? The possibilities are endless!!!

But back to the topic at hand. Son #2 was very clear about what he wanted in a minyan. He wanted a group of people who take prayer as seriously as he does. This means that what takes a “normal” person 10 minutes to say, takes him 30 minutes…even this past Shabbos, when it was 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity, these “10 Men in the Yard” took it very seriously. And though I am not totally in favor of the revival of group prayer, I must admit that when the sounds of these men singing wafted up through my window, it brought a ray of hope into the atmosphere. So perhaps this is a sign that the world is going back to some sort of normal…which would be even better than husband #1 starting to spend money. (And I really mean that.)

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