Monday, March 19, 2012

Small kindnesses

The small acts of kindness that I've witnessed during my now three and a half months of saying Kaddish amaze me.  Item #1: While I was in my first month of saying Kaddish (shloshim), I attended a class with the Rabbi that ended just as the late evening Ma'ariv prayer began.  They were just about to begin the service when a gentleman I didn't know but who had observed that I was in shloshim asked me if I'd already davened (I had).  He wanted to give me the opportunity to daven from the Amud if I hadn't already davened.  I thanked him, and his consideration of me, a stranger other than my status as a recent Avel, moved me practically to tears.  Item #2: At the morning minyan where I pray on Sundays, the Gabbai makes sure I've put on my tephilin before signaling the prayer leader to begin so that I'm ready when the time comes to recite the Rabbi's Kaddish.  Item #3: today a man came into shul for the afternoon/evening service to recite Kaddish on the Yahrzeit of one of his parents.  He clearly was not too familiar with the service, and, as it turned out, his ability to read the prayerbook was limited.  The Gabbai made sure he knew where the page was for Kaddish, and when the time came, the Gabbai stood by him and recited it with him at the mourner's halting pace.

You might say these small acts of kindness don't amount to much.  They won't change the world.  But they attest to the seriousness with which the Kaddish is taken.  In this way, the Kaddish can become a focal point toward realizing our true humanity.

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