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Once around the Block

Tzipporah Wald

Though she’d scarcely set foot out of the house for the past month, there had been, baruch Hashem, phone calls, e-mails. “How’s it going?” her friend Binny had asked over the phone. “The mourning process, I mean. The grief work.” Malky had shrugged, though Binny couldn’t see her.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"One should refrain from pleasure strolls during the entire shloshim. In case of mourning for one’s parent, one should refrain … for the entire Twelve Months.” (Mourning in Halachah)

Technically, Malky supposed, she had been out walking a few times during the past 30 days — to a long-awaited doctor’s appointment, to pick up medicine from the pharmacy, and again when Dov needed a doctor and hadn’t felt well enough to go alone.

But those were hardly “pleasure strolls.”

And of course, there was the whole trip home to Eretz Yisrael — still during the shivah, with everything inside her crying for her own daled amos, for Jerusalem, for her children and grandchildren. But really, even when she’d been “out,” she’d been in — sitting in the shuttle van to the airport, sitting in airports (conscious, even if no one else was, of her weird-looking canvas shoes, of the long, jagged, pinned-together tear in her blouse, beneath her jacket), sitting for hours on end on the plane, with nothing permissible for her to read. Locked inside herself, inside her state of aveilus.

Though they’d been gone only a week, the kids had stocked their apartment with groceries, fruit, and vegetables, and Dov picked up anything else they needed from the local store on his way back from davening. There had been no need for Malky to leave the house. Invitations to simchahs hung forlornly from her kitchen bulletin board, ignored.

She’d gone out onto her porch occasionally to hang laundry, but not to just sit and watch the people going by — not even on Shabbos. Not that this was forbidden; she just hadn’t felt like going anywhere, doing anything, looking at anyone.

That’s how it had been during shloshim for her father, too, Malky remembered.  


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