Menachem Bluming Muses: Why Mourner’s Kaddish?

The Mourner’s Kaddish is recited for the departed, to assist in their soul’s journey upward. For eleven months after the passing, the soul ascends gradually to its place of rest. And then each year, on the anniversary of its passing, the soul graduates to an even higher place in Heaven. The Kaddish said down here by the living helps ease the journey of the soul up there.

For this exact same reason we say Kaddish at different junctures in the prayer service. Our prayers are a ladder up. We begin on earth and we slowly climb heavenward, each section of the service a step higher. The Half Kaddish is inserted between sections of the service, when the soul of the person praying is about to ascend to the next level. The Complete Kaddish is said at the end of a service, to deliver the prayers just said to higher realms. And the Rabbi’s Kaddish is recited after studying a Torah passage. Just as the Complete Kaddish delivers our prayers on high, the Rabbi’s Kaddish delivers our Torah study heavenward.

So next time you hear Kaddish, envisage this : your own soul, the souls of your loved ones, your prayers and your Torah study are ascending into heaven…

Mendel (Menachem) Bluming and Rabbi A”M

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