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February 19, 2006

Kaddish bonding

People always tell me that you bond with the guys you say kaddish with every day. I don't know how true that is, but you certainly learn things about them. First thing is, everyone has davening idiosyncracies, or at least noticeable differences in style. You learn who meticulously pronounces every word and who's a speed-davener. You learn who uses modern Sephardi pronunciation of the Hebrew and who uses Ashkenazi pronunciation. And so on.

But you also learn some weird things you really would rather not know. There's one guy in my minyan who has a strange way of sneezing. It's a high-pitched "sssiiissshhh" sound. And, to make it worse, he invariably sneezes at least five times in a row, the same way. So as soon as I hear the first "sssiiissshhh," I have to pause and wait for the rest of them.

Another guy, who's probably in his late 70s, has a condition that can only be described, as tactfully as possible, as incontinence of the third state of matter. (I can add a link or two.) He's a very nice guy, but I've had to move across the aisle and a row back.

Which, to me, is all way too much information.

But I did feel comfortable enough with these guys raising the halachic issue I mentioned earlier in the day and my other pet issue ("Is treyf meat pareve?"). People have started to move across the aisle from me. I wonder if they're trying to tell me something.