Towards the end of our services each Shabbat, we do something very beautiful- we recall those whom we have loved but who have died, and with their names on our lips and their image in our minds, we recite the Mourner’s Kaddish. Yidgadal V’yitkadash Shmey raba…
For most of my life, I found this timing to be confusing and out of sync with a typical Shabbat service. My reasoning was always that it seemed disjointed to have such a macabre sentiment at the end of what was (otherwise) a joyous worship celebration.
However, with age (and maybe a bit of wisdom), I now see the Mourner’s Kaddish at the end of our Shabbat service as magnificently and courageously placed by our sages. For what the Mourner’s Kaddish does is bring the memories of folks who were absolutely dear to the forefront of our mind, as if their presence was invited into the Sanctuary, and for a moment, is able to linger with us.
The Mourner’s Kaddish serves then, not as a ‘downer’, but rather as a wormhole through space and time, drawing in the sacredness of lives lived, and connections that inform who we are at our very core.
Not then a morbid shift in prayerful energy, but rather, an uplift, ripe with emotions; connecting us to those whom we recall well beyond the last breaths of their life.
So too, someday, may this beautiful action be taken amongst our family and community for us, so that in their recitation of the Mourner’s Kaddish for us, they will know that there is a love, and a bond, that defies the limits of any one life lived. Yidgadal V’yitkadash Shmey raba…