Monday, June 11, 2012

I'd walk a mile for a kaddish

Thursday night I flew out to California to spend time with my father who is recovering from hip replacement surgery.  I missed the afternoon and evening prayers on Thursday to get to the airport.  I got into San Francisco around 11:30 p.m., arrived at my parents' home around 12:30 a.m. and got to sleep around 1:00.  I awoke at 5:45 a.m. to get to shul at 6:30 for morning prayers.

The Sabbath presented even more of a challenge.  My parents' house is at least three miles from the synagogue and downhill, the elevation gain on the return of about 600 feet.  Usually there is a Friday night minyan closer to their home, but this week it was cancelled owing to a bat mitzvah celebration at the shul. I could of davened at home, but didn't feel comfortable with that.  Saying kaddish, especially on Shabbat, has become too ingrained in my life to miss it.  So I drove to the shul before the Sabbath, parked, prayed the afternoon and Shabbat evening services, leaving my father alone until I returned at 9:00 p.m.  The next morning I walked the three miles back to shul, then walked back home afterwards, sweaty and tired from the climb, ate, rested, then walked back to shul at 7:00 p.m. for the afternoon and evening prayers.  So in total I walked 12-15 miles in less than 24 hours just to make sure I said kaddish for my mother.  I didn't have to.  But I feel as if I do.  Not so much for my mother's soul sake, but for the sake of my soul, my own healing.  If you take mourning seriously, and I do, you'd walk a mile, or two or even three just to be counted among the kaddish-sayers and kaddish responders. 

Last night I flew home on a red eye that arrived in New York at 5:30 a.m., in time for me to catch a cab home and make the 6:45 a.m. morning minyan.  As I write this post, my eyes are bleary and my legs ache.  From making the effort to say kaddish.

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