Stopping in the name of love

Picture from here

On the second day of Sukkos, I stopped saying Kaddish for my father a”h.  It was odd.  That’s really the only way to describe it.  After months of saying Kaddish after Kaddish after Kaddish, it just stopped.  As I sat in shul between mincha and maariv I couldn’t help but think about the passage in Halachic Man, when the Rav describes his father view about the sunset at Ni’elah on Yom Kippur and the halachic change that takes place.  I was moving from being one who is “saying Kaddish” to one who is listening to someone else say Kaddish.

It is a noticable phase of aveilus, sort of that the end of this year is almost over.  Today I davened in a Chol Hamoed minyan organized by the day school that two out of three of our uber-kids attend and there was no one in the minyan saying Kaddish.  I felt a little sad that no one got the opportunity to answer Amen to another’s Kaddish.

Another interesting aveilus-related thing is that I am not going around in a circle during Hoshanos.  As an avel, I am to stay away from any outward simcha, such as the hakafos that we do during Hoshanos.  Missing all of the awesome Simchas Bais HaShoeva events around Chicago is also pretty bunk.  Simchas Torah is also something that I’ve sort of been dreading for the past number of months, since I cannot dance.  I can walk around once per hakafah, but that’s it.  I enjoy dancing, especially with my 5th grade son, but this year I will mostly be a spectator.  This will allow me to learn a bit more than usual (a good thing), but it’s bitter-sweet.  Following Halacha and the answer that I received when I asked a shilah regarding this topic is a challenge.  Not because I am looking to question “authority”, but I know how much of an effect dancing can have on my own body and I appreciate being able to do something that is so physical l’shem mitzvah.

I suppose that I am fortunate to be able to consicously know that I’m exercising my own bechira (free will) by following Halacha.  That, in and of itself, is pretty cool.

4 thoughts on “Stopping in the name of love

  1. Bob Miller

    Since I’m in aveilus now for my father a”h who was niftar on 27 Elul, I checked with our Shul’s Rav about hoshanos. My sheloshim ended with Yom Kippur. Since, in these times, not going around could be viewed as a public sign of aveilus during the chag, because nearly everyone now has his own lulav and esrog, the end result was:
    If I was not holding the torah during Hoshanos, I could go around.

    I was also told that I can do hakafos and even carry a Sefer Torah on Simchas Torah, again to avoid a public display of aveilus.

  2. Neil Harris

    I was also told I could hold a Torah. Interesting view regarding everyone having lulav/esrog.

    The rav I asked told me, as I wrote, about what I should do on Simchas Torah.
    I have found that with aveilus,it’s tempting to “shop around” for different answers. It’s been a good lesson for me in sticking with one posek.

  3. Neil Harris

    Thanks for your comment. Very true. I can’t imagine going through the “mourning process” w/o being able to say Kaddish and also connect with other that are doing the same.

    For me it’s sort of like keeping Shabbos. Once I started, I couldn’t really imagine how I survived without those 25 hours a week.


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