I wrote this a week or two ago and read it to a group of friends Erev Shavuot at my Jerusalem apartment, as part of a session of learning focusing on Ma'ariv (the evening prayer service), the moon and the stars. It marked the end of shloshim, the marker of 30 days since my mother's death, and my movement from one stage of mourning into another, in which I will be trying to increase my movement back into the community, although I remain a mourner for the rest of the year. Part of that movement is getting back to spending time with the international community of friends that I am lucky enough to have, and which expanded due to this week's ROI Summit. Wherever you are, I'm grateful for you, and I wanted to share this with you. Shabbat shalom from Jerusalem.
Over the last three weeks, I’ve gone to shul twice a day for three services – Shacharit in the morning, and then one joint Mincha and Maariv service. (I admit having missed about three of these services due to airplane travel, but mostly, I manage to get there.) And while I read the words, I have started remembering things that my mother used to say about different phrases and words in the prayer service. But while some of these memories are hazy – and I hope they’ll clarify with time and meditation – I have been repeatedly struck by phrases in the Ma’ariv service, which my mother loved so much she told me about them repeatedly. I never asked her to expand upon her relationship to prayer in general, and to all of the prayer services, but I can try to explore – as I say the words daily - why my Ema liked Ma’ariv.