Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


This one goes to eleven

Filed under : Judaism
On June 26, 2006
At 10:14 am
Comments : 22

OK, this one’s going to be a bit more serious than usual. Apologies in advance and I swear, we’ll soon be right back to the funny.

You may remember that I told you that I go to synagogue every day to say a prayer for my mother. Since I never elaborated on that and tomorrow is the last day I’ll be doing it, I thought I would.

The name of the prayer is Kaddish and even though you say it in memory of a dead person, it has nothing at all to do with death, doesn’t mention your loved one, and is said routinely throughout every service for other reasons. It isn’t even in Hebrew, it’s in Aramaic, that special language popularized by Mel Gibson. I hear he chats with his friends in Aramaic all the time, just to confuse the paparazzi.

Anyway, what makes it the prayer for dead people, is that once or twice at every service, usually at the end, all the people in mourning stand up and say it together in unison. Sort of. See, I’ve been to a lot of services this year, and without someone leading, the mourners sometimes have a terrible time getting it together to be in unison. At one service I frequent, there’s a guy who kind of yells it, as though he thinks maybe his loved one or God can’t quite hear him. Other people go really fast, because their loved ones clearly should know that they have an appointment to go to. Others kind of sing it. I think I hate that most. At the service I went to last night they went really slow. I had to constantly slow down my recitation so I wouldn’t get ahead of them. People! I’ve been saying this for eleven months already. Let’s go now.

The Kaddish is just a few paragraphs stating with lots of adjectives how great God is (the Aramaic thesaurus seems to have been just worn out by the guy who wrote this). This doesn’t seem very powerful but if you have ever had someone in your life upon whom you are greatly dependant and who was, in actuality, a part of your very being, never ever be there anymore, well, it’s quite a challenge to stand up each and every day and tell God that He just rocks your world. I think the line that had the most influence on me is the one that states that God is greater than any song. I think they mean hymn by this but for me it was more powerful to think song. Because you all know that for me, well, songs are the building blocks of life. What could be greater than a song? Oh right.

But I started to think about how many places I’ve said it this last eleven months. I guess that’s the statistician’s daughter in me. I came up with:

5 synagogues in Manhattan
4 synagogues called Young Israel of Suburbia
3 people’s houses (during a shiva, or mourning week, you have services in people’s houses)
2 synagogues in Israel
2 shteebels (little informal synagogues)
1 office (some people’s offices have services if they have enough people who want it)
1 store (seriously)
1 hotel
1 school
1 airport

Sometimes, I’m the only one saying it, often I’m the only woman saying it (men are required, for women it’s considered more optional), usually, I’m the youngest one saying it. Lots of times, I had to rearrange my schedule. Sometimes, I barely made it in time. It’s been a crazy near-year. Why not a whole year? Well, that’s the maximum it takes for a person to make it to the next world. You know, the most evil souls take that long. We all like to hope our parents don’t fall into that category so we don’t go the whole year, just 11 months.

Now that I’ll have an extra hour in my day I’m sure I’ll use it for something terrifically important like the gym or volunteer work. Or, more likely, I’ll watch a little more TV. It’ll be nice to finally be able to see the first hour of the Yankee game and hey, Wimbledon starts this week. Yes, I’m SO going to be a better person with my newfound hour. I may even blog four times a week instead of three. And there’s that whole “Plan for World Peace” I’ve been meaning to work on. That or more Netflix videos. It’s going to be a tough call, I can see.

XTC – Dear God
This song is about questioning God, but Judaism is all about that. My mother loved this song.


22 Comments for this post

  1. sarpon says:

    Holding you in my heart, Becca.

  2. Twenchie says:

    You’re a good daughter Becca.

  3. Jan says:

    I can’t believe it’s been 11 months already.

    Is all mourning officially over at 11 months, or just Kaddish?

    Am I allowed to give {{hugs}} on here without being ridiculed?

  4. Becca says:

    Thank you, guys, that means a lot, even out here in virtual blogland.

    Jan, just Kaddish, I have one more month for mourning. I already have a Simpsons festival planned for the occasion. Because I’m 12.

    PS, I won’t tell anyone about the hugs.

  5. jillmvs says:

    I’m adding a hug, too, and squeezing really hard.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait to get home and listen to this song. Being the Lite-Rock/VH1 dork that I am, I confess to generally skipping the music clips but I’m very intrigued by the description and the fact that your mother loved it.

    Sending you some hugs as well.

  7. Becca says:

    It’s OK, Celia, I assume most people do skip them. I think you’ll like this one, though.

    And thanks Jill & Celia for the hugs. I feel squozen.

  8. penguindeb says:

    squeezing just a teeny bit more. I can’t beleive its been almost a year either becca. your mom would be proud I am sure.

  9. Terry says:

    As someone who was always introduced by my friend’s parents as “Sue’s gentile friend” I found this very informative. Thank you.

  10. Becca says:

    Thank you, Deb, I hope so. And yes, time just flies when you’re having this much fun.

    Sue’s gentile friend! Oh ahahahaha, thanks for that.

  11. Soxy says:

    Thank you for sharing that, Bec. I love learning new things here.

    And I love the fact virual hugs are okay on the Jewball. Here’s a big one.

    (I feel so…free)

  12. Anonymous says:

    Your update was really touching. Although I’m not Jewish, I would like the idea of someone saying a prayer in unison among others for me/with me in mind.

    On another, and I hope not sacrilegious, note, do you know Ginsberg’s Kaddish poem? He dedicated it to his mother, Naomi.
    (Proteanlives from WW)

  13. Becca says:

    Get free, Soxy, get free.

    Pro, no, I don’t. Thanks for the tip.

    And thanks to you both for the good thoughts.

  14. Kay says:

    Becca, you rock my world. That’s all I can muster right now. xxx

  15. Culotte says:

    Can I send you a Wet Willy instead of a hug? My affection style is similar to that of an 8 year-old, I know.

    And blog more! I want J-Ball 4 times a week!

    Plus, you may not be aware of this, but Rebellious Jukebox (N) has a HUGE crush on you.

  16. starz says:

    Becca, I nominate you for Queen O’ the GDT, and you can use the extra hour to help Richard clear out the trash.

    Your fan-

  17. Becca says:

    Thank you, Kay, and thank you, Culotte.

    Say, I hope that N. is single!

    Aw, Starz, I think you have to inherit that whole Queen thing and you can’t be elected. But it’s an honor just to be nominated!

  18. Culotte says:

    Hmm. I don’t know if he’s single… I’ll ask, though!

  19. Jane says:

    Oh, heavy thoughts. How do you manage to be serious and still pretty damn funny at the same time?

    Thinking of you lots right now . . .

  20. Becca says:

    You have to laugh, Jane, or you cry. And thanks.

  21. E11even says:

    You are a good daughter. And amazing and funny and serious all at the same time. I love that.

  22. Becca says:

    Aw, E11, thank you, that means a lot.

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