Today is shloshim for my grandmother, meaning my dad can shave and do whatever other things you can do 30 days after your parent dies according to Judaism. My dad (for some reason?) is giving a speech, and he (for some reason) emailed the speech to me. The speech is basically a rehash of the eulogy, with a lot more religious stuff added in (the eulogy also had religious stuff, but that was contianed to a page...this is more like 6 pages of religious stuff and 1 page of stuff about his mother).
Anyways, after that long email I sent him that said how insulted I was by the eulogy, when he kept saying how he has to make sure his children are jewish, to which he responded that he hears what i'm saying, all that stuff is in this speech too! (wow that was a run on sentance) What the hell! It's like I told him how i felt about it, he acknowledged it, and then did the same thing all over again! argh. If he has to do this bullshit, why does he have to send me these speeches!
Anyways here are some excepts:
Many people have asked me how I am doing and how this has changed my life. When speaking to other people who have also lost a parent I am impressed that the most concrete way this has changed our lives is that we are constantly under pressure to keep track of the minyanim and try to make it to every kaddish we can.
wow, so the way my dad was most affected is that now he has to go to minyan every day? that's some cold shit right there...
The first reference in the Torah to something like the kaddish prayer occurs when Yaakov is surrounded by his sons and is about to prophesize to them. He loses his "ruach Hakodesh and suspects that one of the them might give up their faith and Jewish culture in the future. They respond together by saying "Shema Yisrael, Hashem Elokeinu, Hashem Echad." Don’t worry, we believe in the same one G-d and faith that you believe in. Yaakov responds by saying "Boruch Shem Kovod malchuso l’olom Voed." Since this is a prayer normally said only by the angels, we whisper it except for Yom Kippur when we are compared to angels. Since the angels don’t speak Aramaic, the literal translation is "Yeheh shmey rabbah mevorach l’olam ulolmay olmayah" That, we can say out loud.
Think about it. When we say the kaddish we are doing the same thing that Yaakov and his sons did as he was about to pass away. We take a painful moment in our lives when a parent has passed away and we honor our parents by reaffirming our faith in G-d’s name and his eternal plan by following Jewish customs, culture and traditions. We are always aware that we stand on the shoulders of giants going back to our patriarchs and matriarchs thousands of years. In a sense, it is very much like the Olympic torch tradition. One runner hands the torch off to the next one as the event continues. By saying the kaddish prayer, we take up that torch and promise to keep running with it until the time comes to hand it over to our children in turn.
This olympic torch metaphore was in the eulogy, and i don't think it's that inspiring. But yeah again, my dad's lesson o' the day here is that when your parents dies you realize you have to be jewish for some reason. Also that this means he has to make me jewish.
The mystics teach us that we help elevate the neshama by repeating the Kaddish prayer every day, magnifying and elevating Hashem’s name. Our sages tell us that, even more important than repeating the kaddish prayers, we can magnify and honor G-d’s name by observing and following our mitzvos and traditions. This, more than repeating the kaddish, acts as a tikkun for the neshamah of the deceased.
When we say the Kel Maleh Rachamim prayer we pray that the soul be bound in the bond of the living. What exactly does that mean, the bond of the living? Some interpret this to mean that we only actualize ourselves and truly live in Olem Haba’ah, in Heaven. Another way to interpret this might be that the souls of our loved ones will always be bound with us, the living survivors so long as we continue to cherish their memories in our hearts, follow their examples and maintain the Jewish traditions that made them who they are. By commemorating my mother’s shloshim together today, that is what my father, my sister, myself and the other survivors, family and friends, can only hope to do.
ok so maybe i'm overreacting. Ok i'm pretty sure i'm overreacting. But i'm tired of getting mussur speaches via email, which are disguised as eulogys and shloshim speeches. So we can't love our dead relatives unless we maintain their jewish traditions? My grandmother wasn't even religious! She just sent my dad to jewish school so he wouldn't have to go to public school, and then he became a baal tshuva! I don't understand this idea that when someone dies you start going crazy religious...i mean my grandmother died, and I don't suddenly believe in god.
Ok so here is my response i probably won't send (i probably won't send any response, becuase at this point i've just about given up)(also it's kinda mean)
Glad to hear that you have become even more of a fundementalist jew since your mother has died. I still remain an atheist. As such, if you have to tell all your friends about how you are more religious now that your mother has died, please don't forward the speeches to me. I have about the same level of interest in hearing about your religious revelations as you have in hearing about my non-jewish boyfriend.