can i ask you a question?

At the airport in the states on the way over to the Holy Land, a woman who had been conversing with a very nice young man, along with her husband, came over to me and asked me that.

“Of course”, with some level of curiosity.

“Why is it that the men are going to do their prayers and you are not?”

Actually, I’m not sure exactly how she said it, but that’s what she meant. She saw the very nice young man who had been telling her surprisingly kindly with a big smile about his studies in yeshiva and how he was going to visit his brother in yeshiva in Israel.

Oh, I didn’t mention that this couple wasn’t Jewish and they were going on a pilgrimage with a very large group. So when he left to go off to the side to doven a quick ma’ariv before getting on the plane, and she saw ISHI do the same, she rightfully wondered what was my deal.

So I explained to her how men are obligated to pray 3 times a day, and my most standards, women are only obligated once a day, and that I prefer to do mine in the morning, to start the day off well.

“Oh, that’s when I do my devotionals, too!”

We have so much in common, yes, we do.

But I added that when I’m in Israel, I like to get in as many extra prayer times as possible, since it feels more, more…

What does it feel more?

More honest.

So when we were in shul for ISHI to say kaddish this week, I joined along for minchah. And when the rabbi of the shul was speaking to the men in Hebrew for a few minutes until it was time to doven ma’ariv, I waited. I couldn’t really hear him clearly, but I could hear that he was talking about “laylah”–night, and why is it written on this night (as in the seder) but I’m still waiting for “laylah” for this night. I took pictures from up in the women’s balcony of the candy that was on the landing of the balcony that never made it down onto the heads of the hatan or the bar mitzvah boy (photo to come later). And then the heavens opened up again and the rains started pouring down and I was happy that “laylah” was delayed. And then there were questions from the men to the rabbi and we waited more for “laylah” and then he was finished and we could leave.

After all, ISHI could doven that by himself later and we could venture out in the world on that night.


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