Kaddish asks people to take an incredible step at a very tenuous time in life, and from time immemorial, Jews have been taking that step.
When someone loses a person they love, it’s natural to turn inwards and to recede from life. Pain and loss pull us deep into ourselves. Death and despair go hand in hand. Judaism understands the profound feeling of loneliness that death leaves, and the need for mourners to quietly retreat into a personal, inner space alone. Judaism does not deny an ounce of the mourners suffering; it insists that suffering not be all consuming. Judaism honors the need to step away from normal interactions with people, friends and community, though it gently reminds one that his place is with people - family, friends and community.
You may feel that you can't go on. You need to know however; that you are resilient, you will again be able to embrace life, you will be able to walk with the living, and you will even be able to inspire them.
When a mourner stands to recite the Kaddish, he is standing on ground that is both precarious and secure. He stands as a person whose world has been shaken, and yet he stands and affirms that ultimately there is a place for him within the world. When he acknowledges and proclaims that despite all difficulty the reality of God in life transcends. It even offers meaning to the pain of loss in life.
As the recitation of kaddish shares this proclamation with his community the kaddish speaks to the mourner as well. You may feel that you can’t go on. You need to know however; that you are resilient, you will again be able to embrace life, you will be able to walk with the living, and you will even be able to inspire them.
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