Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More kaddish anxiety

I haven't missed an opportunity to say kaddish for over three months.  I've been in a synagogue every day, for every prayer service, Shacharit (morning), Mincha (afternoon) and Ma'ariv (evening) since I missed shul due to a delayed flight on the morning of February 26.  Since then, I've recited the four kaddishes during the morning service, the Rabbi's Kaddish (Kaddish D'rabanan) after the rabbi delivers his d'var halacha (words of Jewish law) following Shacharit, the Mourner's Kaddish that concludes Mincha, the Rabbi's Kaddish after the rabbi speaks between Mincha and Ma'ariv, and the Mourner's Kaddish that concludes Ma'ariv.  It's a routine, but it's not easy.  At a minimum, I have to keep track of time and not oversleep.

Yesterday I did oversleep.  My alarm went off at 5:55, but I turned it off and went back to sleep.  When I awoke it was already 6:30.  Shul began at 6:55.  To get to shul in time to make the first kaddish, I needed to be there by 6:58.  Fortunately, I'm in the habit of preparing everything I need for the day (lunch, backpack, usually even showering) the night before.  I'd even shaved the night before to get rid of the three days of stubble accumulated during Shabbat and the two days of Shavuot that had ended the previous evening.  Still, I had to make my coffee (priorities are priorities), dress, brush my teeth, grab my tallis bag, all of which I did, getting to shul with a few minutes to spare before services began.

A few weeks back I had a dream.  I was trying to say kaddish, but I was having difficulty.  I felt dizzy and had to hold on to a ledge to keep from tumbling.  I was short of breath, gasping for air.  I didn't think I'd be able to complete the kaddish.  That was the dream.

No one told me that mourning would be easy.  Maybe it shouldn't be easy?  But maybe I'm needlessly punishing myself?  Maybe the Jewish way of mourning, if followed to the letter, is completely obsessive?  I'd prefer not to answer these questions.

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