Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why I am saying Kaddish?

Why I am saying Kaddish for my mother?  Why I am waking up a half hour earlier than normal to get to shul to daven?  Why I am structuring my every day so that I can make afternoon prayers?  Why am I davening from the Amud (being the prayer leader) whenever offered instead of occasionally declining? 

The answer is complicated.  Part of it, to be sure, is a feeling of obligation, no different than any other halakhic (Jewish legal) obligation.  I have chosen, or I feel a greater power has chosen me, to adhere to these laws and customs.  But it's more than that.  It's a way of honoring my mother's life and memory.  When I say Kaddish, I try to think of her, of all she meant to me, of the many gifts she bestowed on me.  Also, it's a way of constantly reminding myself that my life is not normal.  Through fulfilling my obligations, I acknowledge that I am not whole.  My soul has been torn.  Perhaps each Kaddish is a way of mending it, slowly, stitch by stitch.

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