Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Embarrassing myself at the Siyum Bichorim

Erev Pesach (the day before Passover) was rough. The night before I picked my father up at the airport.  He'd flown from California in his rather immobile state to join my family for Pesach. Earlier that day my wife had a medical emergency (nothing serious thank God).  I tried to take a short cut from the airport and ended up getting lost.  By the time we'd gotten home, I'd missed Mincha.  After attending to his needs, beginning to set up for Passover cooking and attending late Ma'ariv, we did Bedikat Chametz (the search for leavened bread). By the time we'd finished I was completely exhausted from the accumulated toll of the week's Passover preparations.

The next morning I woke up at my normal Friday time, 5:58, to get to shul by the 6:55 start time. When I got there, however, they were already up to Az Yashir. I looked at a shul calendar and realized that prayer had begun 15 minutes earlier than usual to account for the siyyum. (The siyyum is the completion of a talmudic tractate the attendance of which enables first born male children (of which I am one) not to fast on Pesach eve.  Too embarrassed to enter so late into the service and having missed the first kaddishes, I snuck out of the building so no one could see me, returned home, did some more Passover preparations, then returned to attend the 7:30 minyan. As I put on my tephilin, a man from the minyan I'd missed who had given the siyyum after the 6:55 minyan admonished me (slightly) for missing it. After davening and the siyyum, the person began reading the special, and long, kaddish that follows. He struggled, his Aramaic not being too good. When he finally he got to the familiar "yisgadal", I reflexively joined in. He and the other congregants hushed me up. He said this kaddish was difficult enough to recite without being interrupted. This was not the first time I'd begun saying kaddish at the wrong time. Twice when I was in Berkeley I'd started to say kaddish before there was a minyan. But this time I'd erred in the presence of about 100 people.   Another embarrassment.

Oh well. I guess I'll be better at saying kaddish the next time (which, God willing will not be for a while).

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