Monday, April 26, 2010


On Mondays and Thursdays, our morning Minyan services include a Torah reading. The scroll is removed from the Ark, paraded around the chapel, laid down upon the shulchan - the reading table - and the ba’al korei (reader) chants three brief sections from the week’s portion.

The Morning Reading
Reading a slice of Sefer Vayikra (the Book of Leviticus). From left to right: Elisson, gabbai aleph; Barney C., the honoree; Judith S., the reader; Eraj, gabbai bet.

Two gabbaim stand on either side of the shulchan. Their job is to call up those who will recite the Torah blessings before and after each reading; to call up those who will lift and roll the scroll after the readings are completed; to recite the Mi-Shebeirakh prayer for the sick; and to correct any errors that the reader may make. (Because the Torah scroll contains no vowels or musical notes - only consonants - even the most well-prepared reader will make an occasional mistake.)

I serve as one of the gabbaim - except on those infrequent days when I am actually doing the reading. And because I recite the prayer for the sick, I know who is on The List - the list of those who are in need of healing.

This morning, Eraj, a fellow Minyan regular, returned to our morning Minyan after a one-week absence to sit shiva for his mother, who passed away a week ago Friday. And he returned to his usual spot, standing on the opposite side of the shulchan from me.

When it came time to recite the Mi-Shebeirakh, I knew that there was one name I would have to omit from The List. And I shed a silent tear for Eraj’s mother Goha. I had never met her, but I had included her name in my Mi-Shebeirakh prayers for as long as I can remember. But, alas, no longer.

There are only two ways to get off The List once you’re on it. You either get well... or you don’t.

I added another name to The List today - the mother of a dear friend, who had had a close call a few days ago. I’m hoping she’s not on The List very long... and that she gets off for the right reason.

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