My synagogue is almost 42 miles north of where I live. I make the trip because I love the Rabbi, the services and the many friends I have there.
I was able to sit through Yom Kippur morning services. And even though I had invitations from some friends to spend the 'break' between the morning and afternoon service at their homes, I declined and opted to drive back home. I didn't think I could handle the Yiskor service. Yiskor, in Hebrew, means "Remember" and is the first word in the Yiskor prayer. I had a pretty good idea of how I would react throughout that part of the service.
When I came home I remembered that services were being streamed from the Central Synagogue in New York City, not only on Facebook and their own website, but they were being televised on the JBS TV channel. I tuned in at the middle of the Yiskor service and listened through to the end of Neilah.
Thousands of people were streaming the service and making comments in real time on the Facebook page. During the Kaddish, I felt as if I was joining a world-wide minyon and recited the Kaddish in my own home, the tears streaming down my face. As I watched, Central Synagogue invited those watching to type in the names of those we were saying Kaddish for and so I did, through my tears.
But sometime during the Neilah service I totally lost it. The tears became rivers, the crying became loud, guttural screams, the words flying out of my mouth were not pretty. And I scared the dogs.
Herc, Abbott's big lab, came running over, put his paws on my knees and began to kiss me everywhere he could find a spot to lick. He buried his head in my chest and kept looking into my eyes as if to say, "It's going to be okay." My own two pups, Snuggles and Sterling did the same thing, each trying to comfort me in the only way they knew how, jumping onto the sofa and then on to my lap.
It took a while for me to calm down and reflect on what had just happened. Since my beloved Warren passed away, there hasn't been a single day when I haven't shed tears, sometimes a lot, sometimes not so much. I think the solemnity of the day brought back memories of the last Yom Kippur service we attended together. I remember how much I prayed then that he would be written in the Book of Life. It was not to be. I think the memory of that prayer that would not be granted, triggered those horrific tears and gut-wrenching pain.
In retrospect, the episode feels like a cleansing. It was something that needed to happen. Today, I feel a bit stronger so maybe that was the point.......... me getting stronger.
Copyright © 2018. Reisa Sterling Miller. All Rights Reserved.