Russell and Duenes

The Mourner’s Kaddish

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When I lived in Los Angeles, I studied Hebrew and sometimes attended a Messianic Jewish Synagogue. One of the liturgical elements in the traditional synagogue service is the recitation from their prayer book (the Siddur) of what’s called “The Mourner’s Kaddish.” Though it is recited, as the name suggests, for those who mourn, it does not have the therapeutic theme that one would expect of such a prayer. Rather, in the face of great suffering and grief, the Jews offer to God this prayer:

Glorified and hallowed be the great name of God throughout the world which He created according to His will. May His kingdom of peace be established speedily in our time, unto us and unto the entire household of Israel. Amen. May His great name be praised throughout all eternity. Extolled and glorified, honored and adored, ever be the name of the Holy One, praised be He. Yea, He is beyond the praises and hymns of glory which mortals offer to Him throughout the world. Amen. May our Heavenly Father grant peace and life abundant to us and to all Israel. Amen. May He who ordains the harmony of the universe, bestow His peace upon us and upon the whole house of Israel. Amen.

The commentary notes in my Siddur say of the Mourner’s Kaddish, “The vision of the Kingdom of God triumphant, mitigates the grief of bereavement. And it is the highest test of a person’s faith, to praise God despite his sorrow. It is reminiscent of the faith of Job who cried out, in the fact of his pain: Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Indeed, it reminds one of the prophet Habakkuk’s words of confidence in God:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
    nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
    and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
    and there be no herd in the stalls,
18  yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
     I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
19 God, the Lord, is my strength;
     he makes my feet like the deer’s;
    he makes me tread on my high places. (3:17-19)

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

April 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Duenes, Reflections

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