October is the month of my mother’s yahrzeit and I look forward to going to Beth Am to say the Mourner’s Kaddish in her memory. Doing so brings me comfort then, but I find myself drawn to this prayer whenever we recite it at services. Perhaps it’s the cadence of the Aramaic text, or perhaps it’s the meaning of the words themselves – a message of affirmation and hope at a time of pain and loss.
Yet, I think the power of saying Kaddish goes beyond the prayer itself to how we say it at Beth Am. As mourners stand when the names of their loved ones are read, there is a deep connection to those whose memories live on in our hearts. As the congregation rises to join the mourners, another set of connections is built across the congregation – we rise as a community to support one another. Beyond these connections to the past and the present, I suspect there may also be a connection to the future, to a time when those we love will stand to say Kaddish for us and their community will rise with them. In all these ways, a prayer of memory becomes a powerful source of comfort, affirmation and connection.
Saying Kaddish brings a sense of peace – the same peace that we ask for as we say the words of Oseh Shalom to conclude the prayer – and let us say, Amen.