Yesterday I had no choice but to abandon my regular minyan and daven instead at a local “rocket minyan”. An early morning meeting with a new client dictated that I would be saying kaddish at the “rocket minyan”‘ in lieu of my regular venue which would have ended too late for me to make my meeting on time. I did my best to try and “keep up” with the accelerated pace of the “rocket minyan”. It was a bit of a challenge as the entire davening was over in a mere 35 minutes, including krias hatorah! (reading of the torah).
As I left the minyan and began driving to my meeting I tried to reconcile the approach to davening of the rocket minyan” with the month of Elul and the soon to be upon us period of the yomim noraim (High Holidays). I was reminded of an insight of the saintly Klausenberger Rebbe zt”l.
The Rebbe commented on the unique practice of Jewish communities the world over of singing the kaddish on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. At no other time during the year does this practice exist. Why, asked the Rebbe, do we sing the kaddish at this time?
The Rebbe explained: our singing of the kaddish is an expression of our immense joy of having been given the opportunity by the King of Kings to speak directly to Him, one on one, to cry our hearts out to Him, to tell Him what is on our minds and to beseech Him for all that He in His infinite wisdom determines is best for each of us, our families, the Jewish People and the world at large. We are so overwhelmed at having been afforded such an opportunity that we simply cannot contain ourselves. And so when we recite the kaddish and proclaim through its words the Almighty’s greatness we sing out in praise.
It is indeed a challenge to approach prayer as a one and one conversation with Almighty. But if we are ever going to try and get there Elul is the time to begin the transformation of our prayers, including, the saying of kaddish into a very personal conversation with the King of Kings. May we use the days ahead to accomplish this goal.