What should have been, from a saying kaddish perspective, a routine two day trip to Columbus, turned into a series of challenges which, thank G-d, all ended well.
I was scheduled to leave on a10:00 am Monday morning USAir flight arriving in Columbus at 11:30 am; in time for my noon meeting at AMP. This was the first time since I started saying kaddish, that I did not have to fly into Columbus the night before in order to say kaddish as required and make an early morning meeting at AMP. And I was looking forward to a non-stressful start for my two day trip to Columbus.
At 5:00 am as I was sitting at my desk at home I received an email from USAIR informing me that that my 10:00 am flight was delayed until 2:00 pm. What a great way to start the day! Not only would I now be hours late for my meeting, there was be no way that I would be able to leave the meeting at 4:30 pm, a mere two hours after I arrived, to drive to the shul on Broad Street for mincha maariv. I quickly changed my flight to a Southwest flight leaving BWI at 12:45 pm, emailed my client about this forced change in travel plans and began searching for a late maariv minyan in Columbus. On Go Daven I found a 9:45 pm maariv minyan at the Columbus Community Kollel and planned to say kaddish at that minyan.
At 6:30 am I left my house for my regular shachris minyan and due to my now delayed departure stayed for a bris of a grandson of a friend. At the end of the bris I recited an “extra” kaddish after Aleinu. Driving home I thought to myself that the “extra” kaddish would have to “make up” for my missing mincha which was now highly likely.
I arrived in Columbus a little before 2:00 pm; picked up my rental car and raced to AMP resigned to missing mincha and settling for the late maariv minyan at the Columbus Community Kollel.
But the Almighty assists one who desires to perform a mitzvah and out of nowhere that is precisely what happened to me. What was supposed to be a noon start for an important and intense two day meeting began upon my arrival at about 2:30 pm. After several hours, at about 4:40 pm, the CEO and General Counsel gathered their things, handed out assignments and ended the meeting until 9 am in the morning! I looked at my watch and decided to give it a shot and see if I could make it to Broad Street in time for mincha. At the very least, I thought to myself, even with traffic, I should make maariv. I quickly stuffed my laptop into my briefcase, raced to my car and driving 70 mph I got to shul at 5:10 pm. After punching in the entry code I literally ran down the hall to the beis medrash only to find a small minyan waiting to begin the repetition of Shmoneh Esreah. I made it! I would not miss saying kaddish at mincha after all!
A the conclusion of maariv a gentlemen announced the 6:45 am start time for Tuesday morning’s shachris and requested that everyone make an extra effort to come for shachris because snow was predicted and as a result there may not be a minyan. As I walked to my car I checked the weather on my IPhone. Indeed a snow storm was predicted for Monday night and Tuesday morning. Great! Before I even had a chance to “enjoy” my making mincha I had to start preparing myself for the possibility that I would miss shachris on Tuesday morning!
As I drove back to my hotel after picking up some dinner at the kosher market at Kroger’s, I began to plan out my morning strategy. I decided to wake up at 4:00 am, check the conditions, and if at all possible, leave the hotel at 5:30 am for the drive in the snow to shul.
Tuesday morning I awoke at 4:00 am, turned on the TV and watched the reports of the season’s first snowstorm as it blanketed central Ohio. Two to four inches were already on the ground, snow was still falling, the temperature was in the teens and the roads and highways were snow covered. I looked out the window and the asphalt parking lot was a white blanket of snow.
Quickly I showered, packed up, checked out and with a cup of coffee in hand started cleaning off my rental car. There were at least 2-3 inches of snow on the ground. At about 5:15 am I slowly exited the parking lot and set out on the drive to shul. The roads were pretty bad but thankfully at this early hour there were far fewer cars on the road than usual. Driving conditions were not great, to say the least. All along the route there were cars that had spun off the road, but driving slowly and carefully I arrived at shul at 6:30 am. A plow was shoveling the small parking lot where a few cars were parked. Several men were in the beis medrash and by 6:45 am we had a minyan. What a relief; I made it! I would not miss a kaddish!
After shachris the drive to AMP took about 45 minutes and I arrived ahead of the delayed start time of 9 am. Tuesday’s meeting was non-stop but I was able at 4:30 pm to leave and go back to Ahavas Shalom for mincha maariv.
My 7:45 pm flight was delayed an hour and I did not get home until mid- night. But notwithstanding the airlines and the snow I made every kaddish.