Prime Minister Harper has gone to great lengths to improve Canada’s relations with world religions. Last year he went to the Vatican to meet with the Pope.
During the meeting, he spotted what looked like the bat-phone on the Pope’s desk.
“What is that?” he asked.
“Oh, that’s my direct line to G-d,” said the Pope.
“May I use it?” asked Harper.
“Certainly,” replied the Pope.
Harper talks for two minutes and then asks the Pope what he owes him for the call.
“Well, it’s $100 per minute. You spoke for two minutes so that will be $200.”
“No problem, here you go,” says the prime minister.
A couple of months later he visits Jerusalem and meets with the Chief Rabbi. Spotting the same phone on the rabbi’s desk, he asks if he might use it.
“Sure, go right ahead,” says the rabbi.
This time, the prime minister has lots to say and speaks to G-d for ten minutes. Once he finishes, he pulls out his chequebook and prepares to write a thousand dollar cheque.
“What’s that for?” asks the Chief Rabbi.
“Isn’t that what I owe you for a ten minute call?” says the prime minister.
The Chief Rabbi chuckles and responds, “Chabibi (my friend), here it’s a local call!”
King David writes in Psalms, “L-rd, you were an abode for us for generations.” Rava explains G-d’s abode in the absence of the Holy Temple: King David referred to synagogues and yeshivos.
King David further writes, “L-rd, I have loved the abode of Your house.” Abaye taught: Originally, I would learn Torah at home and pray at the synagogue. Once I understood King David’s words, I began to also learn at the synagogue.
We often convince ourselves that we can pray or learn better at home. And certainly our homes should be places of prayer and Torah study. But G-d’s house is the synagogue! It’s like being at the game or staying home and watching it on TV – which would you prefer?
Davening (prayer) and learning Torah are about connecting with the Almighty. Do you want to connect long distance or do you want to go where it’s a local call? Connecting to G-d from shul is a local call – it’s His house! It doesn’t matter whether you can keep up with the minyan (communal prayer) or not; it doesn’t matter whether you can keep up with the shiur (communal Torah class) or not – just by being there, you are connecting directly with the Almighty, even if you’re davening or learning on your own!
The Gemara continues: Rabbi Elazar Hakapar taught, “In the messianic era, the synagogues and yeshivos of the Diaspora are destined to move to the Land of Israel.”
The more you make yourself at home in shul now, the more you’ll feel at home in the future when your shul is transported to Israel with Moshiach! Make the synagogue your home for Torah and tefillah (prayer) today and every day!