11 Months

My father of Blessed memory, Rabbi Meshulem Weiss (aka Sonny) passed away at the age of 79 almost one year ago. Although my father never lived in Israel, he left instructions for his body to be flown from the USA and buried in Israel, which it was, on a Sabbath eve, a day after the USA (fortunately) lifted its ban on flights to Israel during Operation Protective Edge.

As is our custom, I took upon myself to “daven” with a minyan for the forthcoming 11 months after his death, 3 times daily, in order to recite the kaddish. Not that having kaddish said for him was going to be a problem. My father was blessed with 4 daughters, and 11 sons who would all be reciting the kaddish for him. On most days during those 11 months I also took it upon myself to lead the services as well.

Anyone who has taken upon themselves the commitment of reciting the kaddish for the required 11 months knows full well the challenge this commitment can be. Every single day. 3 times a day. Finding a minyan. Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. Sometimes very early in the morning and sometimes smack in the middle of a group tour during the day and sometimes late at night. 11 months straight. No days off. None. Not always an easy task. But we do it.

My particular situation was a bit unique in that I am a licensed tour guide in Israel, meaning that I am more on the road than at home. Again, for those who travel a lot they know exactlty what I am talking about. The challenge only intensifies when you are on the road.

In the end, I feel that I have experienced something quite unique this year. In the course of these past 11 months I have davened with countless minyanim from all over the country, and from all over the religious spectrum. From Kiryat Shmona with Tunisians to Eilat in a hotel. From Tel Aviv with Mashichistim to Tiberias with the Karliner. From Kever Rachel in Beit Lechem to Maarat Hamachpela in Hebron to the the Rashbi in Meron, Rabbi Meir Baal Haness and with the Ari in Safed. I have davened these 11 months in the airport, on the Syrian border, in Yeshivas, Daybreak minyanim, Kibutzim, Shtieblach, with Brestlover at the Tomb of Dan and in Kfar Chabad. From Afula to Haifa, from Maale Adumim to Maale Gilboa, to Beit Shean to Shoham to the Kineret. From Yad Vashem to Sharei Tzedek hospital and to the Kotel in Jerusalem.

And of course in my most favorite of places, my hometown of Mitzpeh Yericho, a community of 400 families with over a dozen places to daven.

It has been a ride, one which quite honestly I am  relieved to be off of. The pressure at times was quite great. Fortunately today with Apps like Find a Minyan and Waze it is quite doable.

In my businees we have all kinds of specialty tours such as those dedicated to visiting the many wineries Israel has to offer. The minyan tour I was on this year, taking me into such a wide variety of communities throughout Israel is a trip we should all seriously consider.

About the Author
Rabbi Weiss was born in Miami Beach, Florida and served as Chabad community Rabbi in Teaneck, New Jersey for 21 years. He made Aliyah in July 2003 and is the author of "You Come For One Reason But Stay For Another." He is a licensed Tour Guide, father of 12, and resides in Mitzpeh Yericho.
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