Saturday, February 11, 2012
Kaddish of hope and life
This week my father fell again. X-rays revealed no new break. Thank God! I offer the prayer, in the words of Psalm 94, recited at the end of morning services each Wednesday, "If I said 'my foot has slipped', your kindness, God, has supported me". This new crisis averted suggested another understanding of the Kaddish. It has oft been noted that the Kaddish says nothing about death. Its central idea is that God's name should be made great and brought into the world. Its message is one of hope and life. It is not unusual that after a spouse dies, especially when married for a long time (my parents were married 57 years), the surviving spouse has difficulty coping and suffers downward spiriling health. Perhaps the Kaddish is meant not only as a memorial to those who departed this life, but also as a message of hope and life to those who have experienced the loss. As I recite Kaddish for my mother, I pray that my father continues to know "abundant peace, and life, upon us and upon all Israel."