web analytics
September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Making My Peace With Yizkor


Shmini Atzeres will be the fourth time I stay in shul for Yizkor. My father, Hy (Chaim Shlomo) Baras, died in Adar a year and a half ago. For the first year, my brothers and I did not say Yizkor. We began on Pesach and then again on Shavuos and Yom Kippur. I dreaded that first time. I’m a private mourner and I didn’t want to share or publicize my grief.

As I murmured the Yizkor prayer on the last day of Pesach, I had a strong sense of my father’s presence. I very much subscribe to the tradition which holds that the souls of departed family members attend family celebrations. I felt my father’s neshama at the bris of my grandson (Chaim Shlomo), and I had a similar feeling at Yizkor – that my father’s spirit was invoked by my thinking of him. Two weeks later, I dreamt about him. I rarely remember my dreams but I had a vision of my father lying in a hospital bed asleep. I was sitting in a chair next to him, stroking his hair and talking to him, and he gave a little smile even though his eyes were closed and he was unable to move. That’s it; that’s the whole dream, but it was so vivid and, by its very appearance, comforting, as if he had visited me.

One reason we recite Yizkor is to prod ourselves to repentance, which is particularly meaningful on Shmini Atzeres, when the Heavenly Appeals Court goes on hiatus. Did reciting Yizkor inspire me to repentance? I didn’t feel particularly changed but I was awed by what I consider to be an encounter with the metaphysical. Birth and death are transitional passages between life as we know it and The Beyond. As I davened for my father’s ever higher place in Gan Eden, Yizkor gave me a script, an ability to concretize my thoughts about his neshama’s journey in a dimension unknown to me.

Was it moving? How can you not be moved by an absolutely silent congregation of orphans listening intently to the chazan chanting, “May Hashem remember the soul of my father, my teacher. May his soul be bound in the bond of life together with the souls of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah; and with the other righteous men and women in the Garden of Eden.” You’d have to be dead yourself not to be touched by that sentiment.

I don’t dread saying Yizkor anymore, but I can’t say I look forward to it, though I’ve already taken and survived my maiden voyage. I would prefer pondering my father’s life as well as his absence more spontaneously. But I know now what I’m in for. I know that the words are powerful, and that I am in the company of other mortals who are conjuring up their own memories and their own intimations of mortality. Both the words and the surrounding company give me strength. May they all, including the memories, be for a bracha.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Making My Peace With Yizkor”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Protest rally against Metropolitan Opera staging Death of Klinghoffer on 9/22 at 4:30 pm at the Met.
For Grass Roots Klinghoffer Protest 9/22, Jewish Establishment MIA
Latest Indepth Stories
IDF lone soldier and  David Menachem Gordon (z"l).

Why has his death been treated by some as an invitation for an emotional “autopsy”?

Starck-091914

SWOT analysis: Assessing resources, internal Strengths&Weaknesses; external Opportunities&Threats.

Kohn-091914

Strategy? For the longest time Obama couldn’t be bothered to have one against a sworn enemy.

Miller-091914

Seventeen visual skills are needed for success in school, sports, and everyday life.

We started The Jewish Press. Arnie was an integral part of the paper.

Fear alone is substantial; without fusing it to beauty, fear doesn’t reach its highest potential.

Fortunate are we to have Rosh Hashanah for repentance, a shofar to awaken heavenly mercy.

Arab leaders who want the US to stop Islamic State are afraid of being dubbed traitors and US agents

National Lawyers Guild:Sworn enemy of Israel & the legal arm of Palestinian terrorism since the ’70s

A little less than 10 percent of eligible Democratic voters came out on primary day, which translates into Mr. Cuomo having received the support of 6.2 percent of registered Democrats.

The reality, though, is that the Israeli “war crimes” scenario will likely be played out among highly partisan UN agencies, NGOs, and perhaps even the International Criminal Court.

Peace or the lack of it between Israel and the Palestinians matters not one whit when it comes to the long-term agenda of ISIS and other Islamists, nor does it affect any of the long-running inter-Arab conflicts and wars.

Rather than serving as a deterrent against terrorist attacks, Israel’s military strength and capabilities are instead looked at as an unfair advantage in the asymmetrical war in which it finds itself.

Sisi:”The religious nature of the Middle East creates challenges for the governing authorities.”

More Articles from Barbara Kessel

How can you not be moved by an absolutely silent congregation of orphans listening intently to the chazan chanting,

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/making-my-peace-with-yizkor/2004/11/10/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: