I don’t think of myself as an especially spiritual person, but after the death of my husband’s uncle Sol, I had a religious experience.
Sol, who died just short of his 96th birthday, was a surrogate father of sorts to my husband, and grandfather to our son, and a much beloved presence in all our lives. The night after his funeral we planned to gather at our apartment for shiva to remember him and recite the evening prayer.
Traditionally in Judaism a minyan – a quorum of ten men – is required to recite communal prayer, so that afternoon I began to call friends and family to join us, and to ask the men to help form our minyan.
With such short notice some of the men couldn’t make it, so I made more phone calls. But as I crossed names off my list and left more messages on answering machines, I began to worry. Would we be able to muster ten men at what was now the eleventh hour? Would we have our minyan?
Sol had been an actor and I thought of the search for a minyan in Paddy Chayefsky’s play, The Tenth Man. And I thought of the countless minyans called to prayer over the long arc of our Jewish history.
Then the phone began to ring. “Count me in.” “Of course I’ll come..” “If you need me, I’ll be there.”
We had our minyan, and that night over lox and bagels, we toasted Sol with his favorite schnapps.
Then, as ten men stood in our livingroom to recite the evening prayer, I felt a joyful rush deep in my soul.
Rest in peace, Uncle Sol.
Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!