Tuesday, June 19, 2018

A Year of Mourning - Reflections on Minyan 3

One minyan morning the conversation turned to prayer - not the prayers we recite, but how are we kddash - how are we holy? How can we focus our thoughts to understand there is no greater love than that of the Kaddosh Baruch Hu, the Infinite? Yet I think of my father. I do not think of his love, though it was vast. Of all the things taken from him, I think the most frustratrating was his ability to pray. He couldn’t stand, but worse, he couldn’t focus. Daily prayer was something he came to late in life. It opened and focuesed his day. But in the last few years prayer became more and more of a chore.

One of the things people remembered aboutr Daddy was his willingness to make a minyan. Even before he prayed regularly, it was a value of his. One bad weather nights he’d pile us all into the car. With four, we were almost half a minyan. We could make the difference to someone saying Kaddish. Even that was taken from him. Travel was hard, even only to the shul. He couldn’t get out to talk to people, and he could no longer longer read our tefillot to speak to God.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

A Year of Mourning - Father’s Day

I’ve been so busy lately there’s barely time to think. My two jobs became three in April, plus being COO of my household, which could be a full time job itself. Yet I’ve fallen into a routine. I think more of Daddy each day. Perhaps the pain has faded enough that I can let down the barriers to memory and thought. Little things each day remind me of him. I say things like, “My Dad used to say...” “Papa would have said...”

I think of the lessons he taught me. Theology. Ethics. Today for hi was just another day. He didn’t like Father’s Day, or days like it. We didn’t need one day to appreciate fathers (or mothers or each other), that was something we should do every day. I remember Valentine’s Day. He used to shop generously for Valentine’s Day gifts. I remember a special chocolate cameo and stuffed animals. Then one year he came home announcing that this was a day not for us, not for Jews. We didn’t need one day to show we loved each other. We needed to show that regularly. And he tried. Though he was aggravating and intransigent at times, he was a generous year-round gift giver.

Today I am reminded of Daddy - on the radio, internet, newspaper... But I will think of him no more than tomorrow or the next day or the next.