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A little religion all up ins

The Mourner's Kaddish is a beautiful prayer. It was always my favorite part of services.

It's all about God and Israel, not actually about death so much. I don't believe in God anymore and I have... controversial opinions about Israel, but I still love the Mourner's Kaddish. Every time somebody I love dies, I dig out my old Gates of Prayer New Union Prayer Book (with the green ribbon my mom sewed in to coordinate with my Bat Mitzvah dress, and all the pencil marks for my service everywhere), and read the prayer. The ribbon hasn't moved from page 629 in a long time.

My favorite part is

Yit'barakh v'yish'tabach v'yit'pa'ar v'yit'romam v'yit'nasei
Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled,

v'yit'hadar v'yit'aleh v'yit'halal sh'mei d'kud'sha
mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One

I just really like to say the Hebrew. What the words mean in Hebrew is irrelevant. It rolls beautifully, the rhythm and the structure of the words, the memories of saying it and the way the congregation would always swell with an uprising of "ooh! I know this part!" and how I would stand there, ten years old, thinking very seriously that I would like my thoughts of comfort to reach the bereaved, which the rabbi would always name and list before we said the prayer together.

I didn't have a good time of it in Hebrew school but I always remember one time in 3rd grade when we were first learning our aleph-bet that the teacher told us a story. It was a story of a little girl who was sad and scared and wanted to pray, but she didn't know any Hebrew, just the first letter - aleph. So she said aleph over and over and over again, and god heard her prayers, even if she didn't say them in his language.

Even though the lesson the teacher was trying to teach us was kind of one I now find to be counterproductive (that god is always listening yadda yadda, try your best etc), the lesson I actually took away from the story at the time was about how meaning and intent are paramount in matters of passion. And how, although prayer can be an empty gesture to another person, individual prayer is a completely legitimate method of self-comfort.

So I read the Mourner's Kaddish and put the book at the foot of my bed, where Scully used to sleep. Where, in fact, Scully had hauled herself, against all odds, just about 10 hours ago right now, and I found her there when we got home from errands absolutely shocked, thinking "well, if she managed to get up here on her own power she'll probably make it through the night!" Of course, she didn't. Anyway I put my prayer book in her spot, not that I meant to. But I was trying to go to sleep, because my eyes hurt and I don't have a damn thing to do that doesn't involve my eyes somehow, and my foot felt my prayer book through my blanket. And it felt the green ribbon sticking out, and I thought for a split second that it was Scully.

So I'm going to go put away my prayer book again, leaving the ribbon on the same page, and not take it out again hopefully for a while.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 10th, 2011 01:25 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry hon. :( Your cat was precious. *big big hugs*

And the Kaddish was always one of my favorite prayers too.
Jun. 10th, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)


Okay what you do is make a triangle with your thumbs and forefingers, and I do the same but upsidedown, and then we make them MEET and it's a star of david!

I mean. Um. I'm still sad and stuff? But anyway. MERLIN JEW FRIENDS (is this where I bitch about having to explain to psmithery that "oy" was not a typo for "oi"?)
Jun. 10th, 2011 01:45 pm (UTC)
HAHA yeah bb! Though I am also one of those rare, non-believing Jews, lolol. :D I first saw this post on my phone this morning and thought my eyes were doing weird things. I was like... 'is that Hebrew?' XD

Your star of David sounds like it should be our official gang sign. I like it! HEBREW HAMMER ALL OVER YOUR FACE WHAT.

DUDE it took me forever to realize that OY wasn't the universal exclamation for the sentiment: Oi! They're like...two different exclamations. All this time I've been turning my Brits into long-suffering Jewish mothers!
Jun. 11th, 2011 05:07 am (UTC)
Sweetie? THIS (shit like this) is why you need to be, need to consider yourself to be ARE a writer.
Jun. 11th, 2011 05:12 am (UTC)
Heh, thanks I suppose?

I think I look at it more like pornography. You know it when you see it. So everybody can write and everyone can make art and everyone can do dirty things. But only occasionally do people make ART, or PORN, or ...... write things. Literature-ize?

Jun. 11th, 2011 05:19 am (UTC)
Yes, and I just teared up reading this, so whatever you want to call it is REAL and G-U-D good.
Jun. 11th, 2011 05:38 am (UTC)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )