Equal Partners
by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners by Roland Ezri

Equal Partners

By Roland Ezri

"Women are the backbone of all societies. They do a substantial part of the work, and play a major role in raising the future generation yet they are largely powerless. The decisions that count are made by men and foisted upon women."

Writings by Roland Ezri

The Second Exodus – Egypt – LXV. My Years at 12A Rue Khantaret Ghamra – Death (3 of 6)

One day, my dad came back home in the middle of the day; his face was ashen; “what happened ya Nisso?” asked my worried mother.

As it turned out, his father had passed away while he was in his store. My mother and grandmother did their best to console him.

But the circumstances were truly tragic. Nonno Zaki had walked out of his home alive and well in the morning, and by the afternoon, my father brought him back home dead! Nonna Helene and aunt Angele got the shock of their lives.

Our religion requires us to bury the corpse within 24 hours. Thus, despite your grief, you have to make hasty funeral arrangements. You’re not given a chance to breathe and say a proper goodbye to a loved one. To complicate matters, locating uncle Joseph proved difficult. I believe that at the end, dad made the arrangements by himself.

One day I had a beloved grandfather, the next day he was dead and buried! Of all the human tragedies, death has to be the most unsustainable.

A period of Shiva (mourning) followed. During this time, the family was gathered at one location (in this case, Rue Tour Sina) for 7 days; there relatives and friends came to present their condolences. The sons of that man could not shave for 7 days. The truly orthodox do not shave for 40 days. (I do not know how this rule came about since for a long time men could not shave anyway; only in the 19th century, when the straight razor was invented, and later in the early 20th century when the safety razor was conceived, could a man shave).

For the 7 days, prayers were said in the house of the deceased, for the repose of his soul. Thereafter, it’s once a week until the first month has gone by. Finally, it’s once a month until a full year has elapsed. At the annual anniversary of the passing of that person, a remembrance prayer is said, usually in the synagogue, on a Saturday morning.

The prayers for a dead person are called eraya (which means a reading), they always include the Kaddish (prayer for the dead; lekadesh means to consecrate).

When does it end? When there are no longer any children alive, or perhaps before that if that person has been long dead.

Comments are closed.