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Thursday, October 19, 2017

from mourning to rejoicing

So, as I mentioned, my father passed away two years ago this month.

In Jewish tradition, the anniversary of a loved one's death is called a yartzeit. As in, my father's yartzeit is in October. My father's yartzeit is the day after a joyous holiday, Simchat Torah. (Yes, it's calculated according to the Hebrew calendar, not the secular calendar.) Very easy to remember.

There are two traditions associated with observing the anniversary of a loved one's death.

The first takes place at home --  lighting a yartzeit lamp.  If you go to the kosher foods section of the supermarket, you will see votive candles, glass tumblers filled with about 3 ounces of wax, that are designed to burn for 24 hours.  Those are yartzeit lamps.  There is no special ritual, you simply light the canlde and medidate on your loved one's life.

The second tradition takes place in the synagogue, with the recitation of the Kaddish. Kaddish is one of the prayers that requires a minyan, a quorum of ten adults. I think part of the reason forthat requirement is so that the community can comfort the bereaved.

Kaddish is said at the funeral, then every day during the period of mourning (a year if the deceased is your parent, 30 days for all other relatives), and then once a year on the yartzeit of your loved one's death.

My father's yartzeit was on Saturday, but I wasn't able to go to synagogue that day.  I planned to go on Monday, weekday services are short and sweet.  But when it came time to leave for the synagogue, I couldn't find my keys.  They fell behind my dresser, and by the time I found them...well, I had to reschedule.

So I found myself in synagogue this morning. 

And there was a bat mitzvah.  Or rather, a b'not mitzvah.  Two girls.  I don't know if they were twins, or merely sisters close in age, but they were celebrating the occasion together.  (The children in our synagogue get to celebrate twice, first on a weekday morning, then a much bigger celebration on Saturday.)

And then an image popped into my head, of my father, the proud grandfather, dancing at Jen's bat mitzvah.  And dancing at Becca's bat mitzvah two years later. He reveled in being a grandfather, he loved my daughters so much.

Sweet, sweet memories.

Miss you, Dad.

1 comment:

Liz A. said...

Interesting how you got delayed twice.

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