Thursday, October 18, 2012

Slacking off, slightly

One of the first questions some people asked me after my last kaddish, even before I was out the door of the synagogue, was whether I intended to continue attending services. I don't "have" to anymore. The obligation to pray daily can be fulfilled by davening at home. It doesn't have to be done in a minyan (quorum of 10). Only saying kaddish does. So technically I don't need to show up to synagogue again until the day of my mother's Yahrzeit, the 24th of Cheshvan, November 9.

I wasn't sure how going to shul every day for nearly a year would effect my religious behavior in the long term. Right now I'm in the habit of attending shul regularly. I've developed bonds with some of the people with whom I pray and a level of familiarity in the shul setting as never before. So, for the most part, I've continued to go to shul to pray.

However, my priorities have changed. When I was saying kaddish, everything had to revolve around the schedule of services. Now I'm balancing shul with family and personal needs. For example, my son has music lessons in the evening that conflict with Mincha right now. When I was saying kaddish, he took the bus or I gave him car fare. Yesterday I davened at home and drove him to his lesson. A few days ago, I felt so tired that I planned on praying at home the next morning and set my alarm clock for a half hour later than I would have had I attended morning services. With the extra sleep, I felt much more rested that day. And while I still go to shul most mornings, I'm no longer nervous (even slightly frantic) about getting there on time. I'm not leading services anymore so I don't need to be there exactly when services begin.

I guess I'm returning to my old semi-lazy, late arriving, self.


  1. I just discovered this fascinating blog. I am just starting the odyssey that you have now completed.
    It has been 26 days since I have been in Aveilus for my father and I have had all kinds of powerful thoughts and feelings about my obligation to say Kaddish. I have started reading your early posts, and I'm grateful that you documented your experience so candidly and completely. It is a source of strength to me when I read about your commitment to your Mother, may her memory be for a blessing.

  2. Thank you for your touching comment and my condolences. My mother was all about confronting oneself honestly and openly and this blog is my attempt to honor that spirit. She would be touched that my experiences and words have in some way helped others.