Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

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It's All Over...

but the repacking.

As I said to cellio, the last two days of Pesach are mostly just quiet. There are no seders, just the required festive meals, and no special ceremonies like eating in a Sukkah or dancing with the Torah. We ate matzah lasagna the first day and mina di espinacia the second and that was about it.

Except I read a lot of sea novels again. It's dangerous for a slasher to do that.

And the last day, like the last day of Shavuot and the eighth day of Sukkot, and the only day of Yom Kippur, is when we say the yizkor prayers, the prayers in memory of the dead. Traditionally, these prayers are only said by people who have lost a parent, with all those who still have both parents leaving the sanctuary entirely. I used to call those breaks the "yizkor schmooze" because that's what you do - you stand around and schmooze. I still call them that, but I haven't been out for one in several years. That's when I got permission from my two living parents to say yizkor for their parents and relatives because they weren't. It felt very odd to stand there under what was to me false pretenses.

Shemini Atzeret (the eighth day festival of Sukkot) is a yizkor day. In 5759 (1999 civil date), my father was not recovering from open heart surgery on that date. I asked my rabbi if I should be saying it at all, given my father's condition, and he said that as I had been for a year or so, I should continue. I spent that time wondering if I'd be saying it for real the following year.

He died that night, on Simchat Torah. Turns out you don't say yizkor for a parent until after the first yarzheit, so the next year was the last time I said yizkor for everyone else and not for me. From that point on, though, I would have to make every effort to go to synagogue on yizkor days, and I'd be lighting a yarzheit candle, a twenty-four hour candle, in his memory every year on those days as well as on his yarzheit. Which means I light two yarzheit candles in a row at the end of Sukkot.

This holiday's yarzheit candle just went out.

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