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To sit with the nobles of His people

Friday, 29 April, 2011 - 3:02 pm

Dear friends,

Seven years ago my mother came to help us make our first Pesach in Victoria. She was brave to do this. It was a great learning experience for all of us...

When the last days of Pesach were approaching, she asked me "will you have a Minyan for Yizkor on the last day?" It was just a few years after the passing of my father and I obviously never missed the opportunity to say this special prayer for his memory since.

"Ima, I explained, to get a Minyan in Victoria for a mid-week service is close to impossible..." Spending that day at home wasn’t a happy experience. I remember that to lift my spirit I closed my eyes and tried to imagine being a Chazan of a full synagogue, just as in my previous home...

This year, thank G-d, I didn’t need to imagine. I was the Chazan on Tuesday morning, the last day of Pesach. The shul was full, the singing was great, the kohanim gave their traditional blessings and the atmosphere was uplifting.

It was then that I fully appreciated what had happened here. To me growing up with Yom Tov services and these traditions - I don't know of any other way of celebrating, and besides, I'm a Rabbi. What else can I do on the last day of Pesach?... But to see others who didn't grow up with this, adapting it with such love and joy - this was so uplifting, I stand among special men and women.

When I got to the verses of the Hallel prayer "He raises the poor from the dust... to sit with the nobles of His people" my throat was choked with tears.

Comments on: To sit with the nobles of His people

Shoshana Litman wrote...

Dear Rabbi Kaplan,

This is so moving to read your explanation of your experiences on the last day of Pesach. I, too, wanted to say Yizkor for my Father (z"l) that day but I wasn't sure where to go so I asked Hashem to direct my feet and ended up at your shul.

As soon as I walked in I felt as if I was in Crown Heights or maybe even Jerusalem: Everything felt so whole and authentic. When you cried during the service I wasn't sure exactly why. Now I know a little more about what you were feeling and this makes the whole experience even more meaningful.

With many thanks for all you, Chani, your Ima and your whole family do.