Wednesday, January 18, 2012

First in, last out

The obligation to say kaddish requires that one go to shul (synagogue) daily as kaddish can be recited only in the presence of a minyan (10 men in an orthdox shul, 10 people in a conservative or reform shul).  Not only do you have to be in shul, but you also have to get there early.  As an avel (mourner), I am usually the prayer leader, and therefore have to be ready to go when davening starts (6:45 on Mondays and Thursdays, 6:55 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays).  That means I need to have on my tallis (prayer shawl) and tephilin (phylacteries) by then.  As a result, I get to shul before most others. In the first week of my avelut, I was getting to shul in my customary last second way which, I was told, was not in keeping with my obligation to say kaddish and lead services.

I'm also one of the last to leave as others begin putting away their tallis and tephilin as the service draws to a close while I can't put my things away until the prayer service is fully completed.  Also, the rabbi gives a brief d'var halacha and the end which then obligates me to say a kaddish d'rabanan (rabbi's kaddish).  The nearly empty shul that I leave each morning is a constant reminder of the emptiness I feel living without my mother's presence.

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