This past Sunday was the Merelotz Badarak; meaning that after Badarak, Hokehankist (literally "spirit rest") is meant to remember all of our dead. Merelotz means either "dead" or "death"- I am not totally sure, but definitely one of those.
The priest explained that the Sundays after big feast days (namely, Christmas and Easter), we always have a Merelotz Badarak. This is because Christ being born and rising from the dead is not only good news for the living, but good news for those who are "asleep." The priest explained that we don't think they are dead, just "asleep" until the second coming, or judgment day, or whatever it is that is supposed to wake them up from death. Merelotz Badarak seems especially important to me after Easter, because the priests don't say Hokehankist at all during all of Lent, nor for Easter. In general, big feast days = no Hokehankist. I suppose that this recognizes that there is a time for everything, and while we never forget our dead, some days should not be marred by mourning. Seems sensible to me.
The sermon this week was an interesting one. It was all about Jesus as the source of all good things, as exemplified by the first miracle that Jesus carried out. For those of you who aren't familiar with the New Testament (indeed, my own knowledge is somewhat sketchy, as I am able to name 2 of Jesus's miracles, but not the third one), the first miracle was Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding at Cana.
The priest made a really good point. Jesus's first miracle was to promote the individual enjoyment of people, to let them have a good time. This runs contrary to some of the doctrines of more puritanical churches who forbid alcohol, dancing, etc. It shows that God is the source of all good things and shows that He wants us to enjoy ourselves and celebrate. Sounds good to me!