Monday, February 27, 2012
Last Shabbat in Berkeley I faced a dilemma. The Mincha afternoon service was switched from the late afternoon to 1:30 p.m., an hour and a half after davening ended, following a luncheon in honor of a recent marriage. The laws of mourning, as explained to me by my rabbi, do not permit me to attend s'machot (celebratory gatherings) or attend live music concerts. So I faced the choice between either attending the luncheon so that I could stay for Mincha to recite Kaddish, leaving the synagogue and taking a walk to return for Mincha, in which case I would get back to my father's house at about 3:00 p.m. (his home is about an hour walk from the synagogue), or just leaving and praying Mincha on my own so I could spend more time with my father but not be able to recite Kaddish. I choose the last alternative. I feel guilty. I have not done everything in my power to make sure I do not miss an opportunity to say Kaddish. I know people who did not miss a single Kaddish during their entire year of mourning. There are people who make sure to find a minyan near the airport or make sure when they book their flights that it doesn't conflict with the opportunity to pray in public. I have given priority to being with my father when it conflicted with saying Kaddish for my mother. These choices are not easily made. My life is not a seamless whole. I am trying. And, I am praying.