How and when this situation will be corrected and how it will play itself out is one of the mysteries that the future contains. Especially now, in a world after the coronavirus with its attendant disasters, a new world will be formed whether we wish it to be or not. Perhaps this will be an opportunity for Judaism to reassert itself upon Jews so that the disconnect can be narrowed and the future will be stronger and brighter for all of us.
Or perhaps not.
We all want to make good habits, whether it’s in business, in our hobbies, or in our personal lives. One popular method to build habits is called the 21/90 rule. The rule is simple enough.
Commit to a personal or professional goal for 21 straight days. After three weeks, the pursuit of that goal should have become a habit. Once you’ve established that habit, you continue to do it for another ninety days. If you can keep up something for three weeks and then ninety days, then it should become a permanent lifestyle change
Why is it 21 days to break a habit?
This number comes from a widely popular 1960 book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon who noticed his patients seemed to take about 21 days to get used to their new faces. However, according to a 2009 study, the time it takes to form a habit really isn’t that clear-cut.
Researchers from University College London examined the new habits of 96 people over the space of 12 weeks, and found that the average time it takes for a new habit to stick is actually 66 days; furthermore, individual times varied from 18 to a whopping 254 days.
The take-away message here is that if you want to develop a new behavior, it will take at least two months, and you shouldn’t despair if three weeks doesn’t do the trick – for most people that’s simply not enough.
Now many of us have been praying in Minyans for 50 years (some more some less). We were forced to break the habit through no fault of our own. There is strong pressure to daven in a minyan as that is one of the principals of being Orthodox for a man and it joins us together
The good news is as of Nissan 25 (April 19th), Outdoor minyans were now allowed again. I davened with a Minyan at 6:00 Am on the 19th. This was exactly 20 days (not 21) that we were cancelled from minyans. A coincidence”? Why not 22 days were we stopped?
When one passes away, one of the best things that is said about a man is that he came to minyan every day. This is the praise of a Torah Jew.
But we have formed new habits. Getting up late. Davening on our patios, or roofs, or back yards. I have a beautiful roof with a view looking out on the King David Hotel that is temporarily closed for the Virus.
I love minyans and what they represent. But it won’t be easy to give up my new habits even for me a convinced minyan man. How will be it for others, that didn’t want to get out of bed in the first place?
And it was sprung on all of us so fast. First, the synagogues were closed and since we knew how important the minyan was, we continued outside. Then when people didn’t follow rules, a quick blanket no was put out for minyans that they were “killers” even if we followed safe distancing rules. The concept was since many people didn’t follow the rules, it was necessary to kill a fly with a sledgehammer, all minyans were out. Now at least for a while outdoor minyans are back. Let’s see if they will let them stay. It will be great to hear the Torah and say Kaddish again.
Then the radio was ok to daven with. Each day on the Radio, when the prayer is being said, a flute and a harp play. I will be forever looking for the flute when I pray in the future.
Now that we have made these new habits, will we break them so easily? Especially older people who are the backbone of the minyans, will they be encouraged to come, because it is more dangerous for them?
Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is hard to put him/her back into to it.
One thing that many of us have difficulty with is remaining positive. There is one way to stay focused, however. Find one notable positive thing in every day and write it down each day.
Now another thing that we have gotten used to:
A Hard Day at the Office
Moishe Epstein dragged himself home and barely made it to his chair before he dropped, exhausted. His sympathetic wife Rivkah was right there with a tall cool drink and a comforting word.
“My, you look tired,” Rivkah said. “You must have had a hard day today. What happened to make you so exhausted?”
“It was terrible,” Moishe said, “We had no computer or internet access the whole day so all of us had to do our own thinking.”