Thursday, March 11, 2010

"My G-d, am I late!"

. . . said I under my breath, as I rushed into the minyan room yesterday morning--not only was the baalat tefillah (prayer leader) past the Baruch Sheh-amar prayer, she was past the Yishtabach prayer and well into the Matbeiah Shel Tefillah, the hard-core required section of Shacharit (Morning Service)! That was the latest I'd ever been to my "kaddish minyan." By the time I'd put on my tallit and tefillin, the congregation was just starting the Amidah prayer--and I realized that my consolation prize was that I'd be able to say Amen to both of the first two brachot (blessings) and join the congregation in the Kedushah section for only the third time since I've been going to this out-of-the-neighborhood synagogue to say kaddish for my mother. I'm such a slow davvener (pray-er) that I'm always in the middle of the brachah after the Sh'ma when the congregation begins the Amidah, and, therefore, can't join them in reciting the Kedushah, though I do get to say Kedushah when we say the Musaf (Additional) Amidah on Rosh Chodesh (New Month).

I sat down after Kedushah and began davvening the Matbeiah from the beginning, from Yotzer Or. But I realized, when I got to the end of the Sh'ma section, that I had a serious problem--either I could continue properly with the Amidah, or I could skip it and join the congregation to say the two Mourner's Kaddishes. There was not the remotest possibility that I'd be able to finish the Amidah on time to say kaddish with the minyan. So I apologized to HaShem with a quick "Baruch shem k'vod malchuto l'olam vaed" (Praised is the name of the glory of G-d's dominion forever and ever) and recited the two kaddishes. Otherwise, what was the point of shlepping by subway to the nearest minyan, even at that embarrassingly late time?

Then I went home, put my tallit and tefillin right back on, and recited the Matbeiah all over again from the beginning.

Ah, that's why I'd been setting my alarm clock to ring 10 minutes earlier.

Alarm clock hereby reset.

This morning, I got there just as the service was starting.


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