lessons my mother didn’t teach me but made sure i learned

Today is my mother’s yahrzeit. It’s been 6 years since she died. I don’t know if I remember how old our grandson is because he was born right before she died or I remember how long she’s been gone when I remember how old he is.I know I remember less and less, so whatever I do remember is good.

And so what I try to do is not impose meaning on things or events, but let them speak to me. I guess I’m a witness to my own life, in effect. But this is to affect change. As my mother did, even after she was already past the simple lesson-telling stage.

With this in mind, or perhaps not, I went this morning to the early minyan (prayer service) in order to be able to recite kaddish, the special prayer set aside for mourners during the year after their loss and then on the yearly commemoration. And since it was so very early, perhaps, I experienced things in a different way than usual.

Usual is getting to services late and playing catch-up with the prayers, or being on my own and gong through them, usually without any lightbulbs going on or off.

Well, some lights were flashing this morning.

First came the question–how can we bless G-d?

The prayer leader declares:

בָּרְכוּ אֶת ה’ הַמְברָך

Come, let’s bless G-d who is blessed.

And then we answer:
בָּרוּךְ ה’ הַמְברָךְ לְעולָם וָעֶד

Blessed is G-d who is already blessed forever.

So the question is how do we bless someOne already blessed? (Not going into what it means to bless, anyway, but) why do something already done?

And of course, added to that is the act that we answer “forever”. Does that fall on the act of our blessing  or on the already blessed action?

And then, soon enough, we add the Kedushah section in which the prayer leader says:

נְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת שִׁמְךָ בָּעולָם. כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמַּקְדִּישִׁים אותו בִּשְׁמֵי מָרום. כַּכָּתוּב עַל יַד נְבִיאֶךָ:

Let’s declare Your name holy in the world, like they do in the upper worlds, as Your prophets say:
וְקָרָא זֶה אֶל זֶה וְאָמַר:

And they call to each other and say:

 קָדושׁ. קָדושׁ. קָדושׁ ה’ צְבָאות. מְלא כָל הָאָרֶץ כְּבודו

Holy. Holy. Holy is G-d of the hosts (but in the singular it means “army”, so I don’t really know what hosts are.

host 2 http://img.tfd.com/m/sound.swf (hst)


1. An army.
2. A great number; a multitude. See Synonyms at multitude.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin hostis, from Latin, enemy; see ghos-ti- in Indo-European roots.]


The whole world is full of His glory.


We’re being asked to do what the universe is doing.

Come join the blessing parade!

But then I thought of Thoreau and his maybe most famous line from Walden:

If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. 

But he also said:

 Read not the Times. Read the Eternities.


One response

  1. Pingback: on the ninth year after my mother’s death | Learning from the Learned

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