Monday, November 5, 2012

The pressure is off

Now that I no longer a "chiuv," that is, a person (a man) with an obligation to say kaddish and daven from the Amud (lead prayers), I feel more relaxed. I don't have to go to shul if I don't want to, and when I do, I don't have to get there on time.

Since kaddish requires a minyan (quorum of 10), I had to be in shul every day twice a day when I was saying kaddish. And I was regularly asked to lead prayers. No matter how many times I led the prayers, there was a certain pressure associated with this obligation. Others were watching me. My mistakes were public. I couldn't sit down and relax when the Amidah prayer was being repeated since I was responsible for repeating it. Also, as a potential prayer leader, I felt I should be in shul on time, at least a minute or so before Mincha (the afternoon prayer) and at least four or five minutes before Shacharit (the morning prayer) to give me time to put on my tallis and tephilin.

I am still trying to get to shul on a regular basis. There have only been a few days since the end of my "chiuv" status that I haven't davened in shul at all. But I feel much more relaxed about it. This morning I set my alarm clock for 5:45 to get to the 6:45 minyan. But when I woke up, I felt really tired. I thought about it for a couple of minutes and then decided to reset it for a half hour later and daven at home. As I write this, I feel rested. The hold that kaddish had over my life has lifted. 

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