Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Welcome to the Club
The first time I showed up to shul after the shiva period, a week after my mother died, I was identified as a new kaddish-sayer. A person who was saying kaddish told me "welcome to the club." I was somewhat taken a back but I also understood. I had passed through a corridor that separates those who have known the death of a loved one and those who have not. It's not a club that I willingly joined but I can't deny the camaraderie that exists among those saying kaddish. And it turns out that kaddish-saying gives one a certain status in shul. Not only are you asked--because you are obligated--to daven from the amud, but by saying kaddish, you fulfill a certain critical role in the prayer service. A prayer service without a mourners kaddish lacks a critical element. As the saying of kaddish has become a routine, I feel, strangely, honored to fulfill this role.