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 also 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 (lead the prayer service) but also, 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.

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