Types of Kaddish

The term “Kaddish” is often used to refer specifically to “The Mourner’s Kaddish“, recited as part of the mourning ritual in Judaism in all prayer services, as well as at funerals and memorials.   When mention is made of “reciting Kaddish“, this refers to the rituals of mourning. Mourners recite Kaddish to show that despite their loss they still praise… Read more →

But It’s So Awkward: Visiting Someone During Shiva

You know what nobody talks about? Visiting mourners during shiva (the 7-day mourning period for someone who loses an immediate relative), which is commonly referred to as “making a shiva call”. The term is a bit of a misnomer these days since doctors don’t make “house calls,” but I’m assuming that’s where the term originated.   (You’ll have to forgive… Read more →

recite the yizkor prayer in synagogue on yom kippur, pesach, sukkot, and shavuot

Yizkor: The Communal Memorial

According to Jewish custom, the tradition of mourning is done in both private and public ways.   Observing a Yahrzeit (anniversary of a person’s death) is generally a private observance. Yizkor, as well as reciting Kaddish, is the public observance commemorating one’s death.   Yizkor is the appropriate time for personal reflection, and to commit to particular actions or general self-improvement as a source of… Read more →

Rabbi Akiva Kaddish Story

The mystical book called Sefer Hadoros tells a story of how the great sage Rabbi Akiva was once in a cemetery and noticed a nude man carrying a stack of wood, rushing to go somewhere. Rabbi Akiva said to him, “Stop! If you’re a servant, I can free you, and if you’re a poor man, let me make you wealthy.” The man replied, “Please, rabbi,… Read more →

The Power of Kaddish

Reciting Kaddish is one of the most well-known practices that mourners observe as a merit for the ‘neshamah’ (soul) of their departed. Yet, given the obvious fact that there is no mention of death or the departed in Kaddish, we are challenged to understand what the connection is. Rav Meir Shapiro of Lublin (the ‘creator’ of the Daf Yomi program)… Read more →