Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shunted aside

I haven't been called upon to pray as the prayer leader for two weeks now.  The reasons are several.  There were two days of Rosh Chodesh, the new month, when mourners are excused from davening from the Amud.  There were a string of Yahrzeits last week, days on which men were observing the anniversary of a parent's death.  There is someone who, as the Gabbai calls him, is "a Shloshim", whose parent died within the last month, and who has priority in the pecking order of leading the prayers.  Finally, I am just another avel (mourner) now, and the Gabbai has been calling on other mourners to lead prayers.

How do I feel about this?  On one hand, it's nice not to be obligated to lead prayers almost all the time.  I can show up exactly on time or even a minute late and no one cares.  On the other hand, I was feeling kind of special when I was "the man" to lead prayers.  It was exhausting, but I couldn't help feeling respected and honored to be chosen to stand up while others are seated comfortably, walk to the Bima (prayer stand), put on a Tallit (prayer shawl) and, by the power of my own words, begin the prayer service.  These conflicted feelings are, I suppose, just another rite of passage in this year of mourning.

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