Tuesday, May 29, 2012

God always provides mourners

I haven't been davening from the Amud (being the prayer leader) much in recent days.  The reason is that there are two new mourners attending the morning minyan (prayer service).  As they were in their shloshim period (first 30 days after burial), they had priority over me to daven.    Now that their shloshim period has ended, I expect to be, in the peculiar language of mourners, "back in business" (i.e., back leading prayers), at least on a part-time basis.

When I first began attending shul to say kaddish for my mother, I often acted as the shaliach tzibur (prayer leader) at all three services (morning, afternoon and evening).  I was getting pretty tired of it, but a friend told me not to worry, new mourners would inevitably supplant me.  And so they have.

There is a Yiddish expression, quoted in Ari Goldman's book Living a Year of Kaddish: "God always provides mourners" (page 98).   This book, in addition to Leon Wieseltier's Kaddish, are mainstays on the "recommended reading list" for mourners.  (Goldman's book, which I just finished, is too light and "feel-goody" for my taste.)  The saying expresses a bitter truth.  God takes away our loved ones.  In our grief, we are driven into shul to say kaddish.  There we join the larger community of mourners.  The community is "thankful" to have these mourners, as they form the foundation of the community of daveners.  And, for the existence of this community, we have God to "thank." 

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