The journey has ended.

Eleven months ago, I set out on a journey. A journey of Kaddish in memory of my father and teacher, Naphtali Lau-Lavie, of blessed memory. A wondrous and arduous journey. A journey that changes the daily routine of any person, even one who tries to pray three times a day in any event.

Everything revolved around one axis: Kaddish. I had an intense desire to take my father’s hand and help him ascend, step by step, to his place in the heavens, far from the world of the body and deep in the world of the spirit. I wanted to repay him, if only in some small way, for each and every minute of life — both mine and his — that he gave me, for his days and his nights, for the Sukkah of peace that he spread over me. I did not want to let him go just like that, to take leave of him near that open pit; I wished to glorify and sanctify with the Creator and with all created beings.

The unrelenting search for a minyan of ten men, no matter where I was, resulted in a wonderful experience: encounters in which Jews of all stripes came together three times a day to form a human collective that stops the flow of its life to connect with the sublime within us.

The afternoon prayer services at synagogues on weekdays are shrouded in a simple feeling of togetherness, free of all trappings of status and deference. No cantors and preachers; no lords or rabbis. A quorum simply stands up and sanctifies God’s great name. Three times a day, they stand and commune with the Creator, and with my father, and ask that he ascend one more step up the mountain that leads up to the House of the Lord.

The last afternoon service of my journey has now ended and the time to take leave has come. Another filling of the grave. Your departure is difficult for me to endure, my father. The daily prayers will continue as usual, other people will say Kaddish for their loved ones, and we will ask that you rest in peace.

A Contemporary Prayer for the End of Kaddish
(For a Father)

To be recited after the last Kaddish at the end of 11 months of mourning

נוסח מוצע

תפילה לסיום 11 חודשי אמירת קדיש על האב

 

אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם
זָכִיתִי לְהַשְׁלִים אֲמִירַת קַדִּישׁ לְעִלּוּי נִשְׁמַת אָבִי-מוֹרִי,
מֵאָז עֲלִיָּתוֹ לְגִנְזֵי מְרוֹמִים וְעַד עַתָּה.
הִשְׁתַּדַּלְתִּי לְכַבֵּד אֶת אָבִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַזֹּאת בְּכָל נַפְשִׁי וּבְכָל מְאוֹדִי,
וְעַתָּה עוֹמֵד אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ נִרְגָּשׁ וְאוֹמֵר: עָשִׂיתִי כְּכָל אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָנוּ.
לָעֵת הַזֹּאת, בְּעָמְדִי לְפָנֶיךָ בִּשְׁעַת מִנְחָה,
אֶשָּׂא תְּחִנָּה לִפְנֵי כִסֵּא כְבוֹדֶךָ שֶׁיַּעֲלוּ כָּל תְּפִלּוֹתַי לְפָנֶיךָ לְרָצוֹן
וְתֵיטִיב לְאָבִי, הֲרֵינִי כַּפָּרַת מִשְׁכָּבוֹ, אֶת מְקוֹמוֹ בְּעוֹלָם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ טוֹב,
בְּקֶרֶב כָּל הַבְּרוּאִים שֶׁהֵאִירוּ אֶת פָּנֶיךָ בְּעוֹלָמְךָ.
לָכֵן בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים יַסְתִּירֵהוּ בְּסֵתֶר כְּנָפָיו לְעוֹלָמִים,
וְיִצְרֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמָתוֹ.
ה’ הוּא נַחֲלָתוֹ,
וְיָנוּחַ בְּשָׁלוֹם עַל מִשְׁכָּבוֹ, וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.

Our Father in Heaven,
I have been privileged to complete the recitation of Kaddish
to elevate the soul of my father and teacher,
from the time when he was taken to the Heavens until now.
I tried to honor my father during the course of this year
with all my heart and all my might.
And now I stand before You filled with emotion, and say:
I did all that You commanded me to do.
At this time, as I stand before You
during the afternoon prayer,
I raise my voice in supplication before the throne of Your glory,
and ask that all of my prayers will go up to You
and be acceptable to You.
And grant my father (hareini kaparat mishkavo)*
his place in a world that is all good,
among all the created beings
who shined favorably upon You in Your world.
Therefore, God of mercy,
shelter him in the shadow of Your wings forever,
and bind his soul in the bond of everlasting life.
God is his inheritance.
May he rest in peace, and let us say: Amen.

A Contemporary Prayer for the End of Kaddish
(For a Mother)

To be recited after the last Kaddish at the end of 11 months of mourning

נוסח מוצע

תפילה לסיום 11 חודשי אמירת קדיש על האם

 

אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם
זָכִיתִי לְהַשְׁלִים אֲמִירַת קַדִּישׁ לְעִלּוּי נִשְׁמַת אִמִּי-מוֹרָתִי,
מֵאָז עֲלִיָּתָהּ לְגִנְזֵי מְרוֹמִים וְעַד עַתָּה.
הִשְׁתַּדַּלְתִּי לְכַבֵּד אֶת אִמִּי בַּשָּׁנָה הַזֹּאת בְּכָל נַפְשִׁי וּבְכָל מְאוֹדִי,
וְעַתָּה עוֹמֵד אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ נִרְגָּשׁ וְאוֹמֵר: עָשִׂיתִי כְּכָל אֲשֶׁר צִוִּיתָנוּ.
לָעֵת הַזֹּאת, בְּעָמְדִי לְפָנֶיךָ בִּשְׁעַת מִנְחָה,
אֶשָּׂא תְּחִנָּה לִפְנֵי כִסֵּא כְבוֹדֶךָ שֶׁיַּעֲלוּ כָּל תְּפִלּוֹתַי לְפָנֶיךָ לְרָצוֹן
וְתֵיטִיב לְאִמִּי, הֲרֵינִי כַּפָּרַת מִשְׁכָּבָהּ, אֶת מְקוֹמָהּ בְּעוֹלָם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ טוֹב,
בְּקֶרֶב כָּל הַבְּרוּאִים שֶׁהֵאִירוּ אֶת פָּנֶיךָ בְּעוֹלָמְךָ.
לָכֵן בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים יַסְתִּירֶהָ בְּסֵתֶר כְּנָפָיו לְעוֹלָמִים,
וְיִצְרֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמָתָהּ.
ה’ הוּא נַחֲלָתָהּ,
וְתָנוּחַ בְּשָׁלוֹם עַל מִשְׁכָּבָהּ, וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.

Our Father in Heaven,
I have been privileged to complete the recitation of Kaddish
to elevate the soul of my mother and teacher,
from the time when she was taken to the Heavens until now.
I tried to honor my mother during the course of this year
with all my heart and all my might.
And now I stand before You filled with emotion, and say:
I did all that You commanded me to do.
At this time, as I stand before You
during the afternoon prayer,
I raise my voice in supplication before the throne of Your glory,
and ask that all of my prayers will go up to You
and be acceptable to You.
And grant my mother (hareini kaparat mishkava)*
her place in a world that is all good,
among all the created beings
who shined favorably upon You in Your world.
Therefore, God of mercy,
shelter her in the shadow of Your wings forever,
and bind her soul in the bond of everlasting life.
God is her inheritance.
May she rest in peace, and let us say: Amen.

—————

* According to Jewish tradition, during the first year after the death of a parent, it is customary to add the words “hareini kaparat mishkavo” for a father, or “hareini kaparat mishkava” for a mother, as a sign of respect. This phrase, which means “may I be an atonement for his/her resting place,” expresses the child’s desire to atone for the sins of the parent and absorb any punishment that might be meted out after death. Once the first 12 months are over, it is customary to say “zichrono livracha” for a father or “zichrona livracha” for a mother, which means “of blessed memory.”

The above was originally posted in Hebrew on Facebook on the 15th of Heshvan 5776. It is being published in English on the 15th of Kislev 5776, the first anniversary of the death of Naphtali Lau Lavie, of blessed memory.

Translated by Shira Pasternak Be’eri.