Thursday, January 19, 2012
I am not alone
One of the unalterable facts of the avelut (mourning) period is that the avel is essentially not allowed to pray alone. Since every prayer service of every day includes a kaddish, and since kaddish can only be recited in a minyan, one is never praying alone. This is big change for me. Before my mother's passing, I usually prayed at home except on Shabbat (the Sabbath). Now I am always davening with a group. This seems to be an extension of the shiva period where the mourner constantly receives many visitors paying condolence calls. Perhaps the message is that the mourner should consistently be in the presence of others so that he or she doesn't become too withdrawn or self-absorbed. The obligation to say kaddish pushes one into the community, willingly or not. (In my case it's a little of each.) In this, I suppose, there is consolation: the emptiness I feel inside is juxtaposed against the community of daveners with whom I have joined and will join every morning and evening, every day, every week, without a day off, for the entire avelut period.