Tonight is the first Yahrtzeit for my father, Of Blessed Memory. I will once again be leading the service and reciting the kaddish. Sunday, I'm taking Moe to New York to meet up with Fudge and my mother and sisters and visiting the cemetery for the unveiling. And Chinese food.
I thought I'd have something more profound to say at this point, but real life is busy for me now and I'm just not finding the time to put my thoughts together. In the meantime, feel free to peruse the many posts I've written about my mourning experience.
I would like to respond to an email I got recently from Neil Harris asking me to expand on how blogging has actually gotten me closer to my community. I think for many bloggers, the exposure to so many diverse points of view and so many skeptical posts has had a negative effect. They've questioned their faith and their practices and become turned off, or bitter, or both. I must admit that early on I used this blog to vent to the two or three people who read it and left comments.
However, after the venting was done, I really began to reassess my relationship with Judaism and frumkeit in general. I realized that, bitter as I might be at times, my arguments, once laid out clearly and precisely, really held very little water. I was, shall we say, immature. I wanted this or that, and I just needed to stamp my feet a little. And then I realized that maybe I didn't really need everything I wanted.
Maybe there was a way for me to still be me and yet be a better Jew. Sure, I met my share of heretics and skeptics in the blogosphere. But I also met many inspiring people. People who had many of the same excuses and yet overcame them. People who had quite a bit less than me and yet were happy. People who, surprisingly, were willing to listen to and even laugh at my little tantrums, and in the end say it was OK, and who left me feeling petty and selfish. And that's really the best kind of mussar.
So the blog for me has become more of a support group. And like other groups, it works because it creates a sense of accountability. I know that I have some friends (and some detractors) who pay attention to me. And if I say I'm going to do something, they will be watching to see if I do it. And so for that reason alone, I have benefited greatly from blogging.
I honestly don't know if I would have been able to say kaddish for a year, and not miss a day, were it not for this blog. Prior to PT, I had very low expectations for myself, and a perception (right or wrong, who knows?) that my community had a similarly low opinion of me. And I would not have risen to the task for them. But I did for all of you.
Thanks for keeping an eye on me, and please keep Eliezer Aryeh ben Yaakov Ber in mind tonight.