February 8, 2015 – 19 Shevat 5775

A personal note

Today is the date of my parents’ wedding anniversary. Since my father a”h passed away in the fall of 1985, February 8 was a bittersweet day for my mother a”h. She never recovered from the loss of her beloved husband and the day of their anniversary made her focus even more on his absence and her loss. Today, for the first time in twenty nine years they are celebrating together, arm in arm, never to be separated again.

Time – Continued

Throughout my many months of saying kaddish I have been struck by the fact that the prayer which the mourner is obligated to recite multiple times each day has nothing to do with the departed and is instead all about the greatness of G-d. One would think that if it is so important to pray for a departed parent that the prayer one recites would be a memorial prayer – or at least one that mentions the soul of the departed. Instead, our rabbis established kaddish which focuses on the greatness of G-d and does not mention anything about the soul of the departed.

As I ponder the meaning of time (see my last blog) it dawned on me that perhaps the very reason why we are obligated to say kaddish and not a memorial prayer is connected to the need for the mourner to focus of on the meaning of time. During the year of aveilus it is nearly impossible not to recognize that the life of one’s departed parent, no matter how long in years, was a mere “split second” in the annals of time. When this recognition is turned inward one begins to seriously ponder the meaning of one’s own time in this world.

Saying kaddish multiple times each day can give one a rather clear path forward in terms of purpose.  Being “forced” to repeatedly proclaim the greatness of G-d multiple times every day at the very time when one is pondering the meaning of life and death, instills in the aveil an understanding that life and one’s time on this earth should be focused on serving G-d. Only then does our own time become infinite.

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