Stories from the Kadishim Following some of the instructions dad gave me over the years for things I had to do in mourning his loss has truely been an interesting experience. It is a long long time since I have been involved in so much overt religious practice, and am understanding it far better than I did before. So having sought out a tutor in the rituals I had to perform for dad I went with Jet to her Boss David’s home to have my lesson in Laining Tefilim which I hadn’t done since my Bar mitzvah test in 1978, David and his son Yu’av (sp?) who is at yeshiva (Bible School) in Jerusalem and home on holiday did a great job of explaining it all to me, and also explaining the different periods of mourning and the different things I am meant to observe. I then spent one week laining Tefilim every morning before leaving home, so that I had bound the wounds of my loss as I wraped the leather strap 7 times around my arm and then bound up my hand in the shape of W (The Hebrew Letter not a W). I have also being going to Shul (Synagogue/Temple) on Sabbath with Mum and for the first two weeks my brother Andrew and his family, on the first of the services we attended after the shiva week was completed I was given Hagbahah to perform, in preference over my elder brother only because I had read the eulogy at the funeral. Well I haven’t done this since I used to go the the childrens service as a kid, So I went onto the Bimah and got to raise the sefer Torah (the scrolls) from the Bimah and show them to the congregation before having them wrapped and having to sit and hold them while the Boy who was getting bar mitzva’ed sang his haphtorah piece and then as is tradition we got pelted with sweets, I can’t remember the last time I was bombed with sweets from the ladies gallery and had no way to even avoid them while holding the Torah in my arms, then I had to stand up and the Rabbi said some special prayers for dad while I held the torah, after which the service continued as normal as I handed the torah over to the Rev, and then took the sweets I was given and followed the torah to the ark. I am getting better at saying the various Kaddishes throughout the service, although still feel a little under pressure to get them right. Last Sabbath I had to open the ark for Anim Zemirot which meant that I had to recite the final kadish by the ark by the Rabbi and the Reverend which was pretty nerve wracking as I struggled to get the Hebrew right, it is not an easy prayer to read with what it makes me feel anyway. It is very strange going to Shul again on Saturday mornings after so many years, as I find myself far more attentive now sitting reading the passage each week from the Five Books of Moses and the haphtorah from the other books of the old testament. the stories are really interesting and fascinating, I don’t remember the last time I looked at a bible and now I am reading in the Shul avidly and at the same time reading between the lines and figuring out what they were saying, pretty much nothing changes is the big message as the fights and battles and hostilites of the middle east continue today almost the same as they did in biblical times, even got to read about the Burning Bush this week, while we have a Burning Bush who acts like a god and talks down to the people while New York and Afghanistan burned away. The nicest part of going however is how nice everyone has been and how concerned and helpful, I know Mum is very well regarded in the community for all that she has done over the years, and so it is really good to see everyone rallying round and doing there best to make mum feel better and to help us out, we have been out to lunch and are invited out again this week, although I will be missing as the first and most important month of mourning comes to a close this week, when I will finally be able to shave again and reduce most of my beard back down to how it was before only with the addition of side burns for the coming year, not sure how big or what shape yet though will decide with Jet before the big Shave at the end of the week. Dad I miss you so badly, but doing as you requested has certainly helped to make me feel a little bit better than I did, I will do my utmost to honour the other requests during the rest of my life as and when the time is appropriate.
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