The term “Kaddish” is often used to refer specifically to “The Mourner’s Kaddish”, said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services that are done three times daily, as well as at funerals and memorials, and for 11 months after the death of a close relative. When mention is made of “saying Kaddish”, this unambiguously refers to the rituals of mourning. Mourners say Kaddish to show that despite the loss of their loved one they still praise G-d, who is the one true G-d.
The opening words of this prayer are inspired by Ezekiel 38:23 a vision of G-d becoming great in the eyes of all the nations. The central line of the Kaddish in Jewish tradition is the congregation’s response: יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא (Yǝhē šmēh rabbā mǝvārakh lǝʿālam u-lʿalmē ʿālmayyā, “May His great name be blessed for ever, and to all eternity”), a public declaration of God’s greatness and eternality.
This response is an Aramaic translation of the Hebrew words “ברוך שם כבוד מלכותו לעולם ועד” (Blessed be His name, whose glorious kingdom is forever), which is to be found in the (בריך שום יקריה לעלמי עלמין, Genesis 49:2 and Deuteronomy 6:4), and is similar to the wording of Daniel 2;20.
The Mourners, Complete Kaddish end with a supplication for peace (“Oseh Shalom…”), which is in Hebrew, and is somewhat similar to the Job 25:2
Along with the two other important prayers Shema Yisrael and the Amidah, the Kaddish is one of the most important and central elements in the Jewish liturgy. The difference between this prayer and the two other important prayers is that Kaddish cannot be recited alone. Along with reading from the Torah itself it can only be recited with a minyan of ten Halachicly Jewish Men.
In the Talmud in Tractate Sotah (pages 48a and 49a) The sages say: From the day G-d destroyed the Holy Temple, there is no day without a curse. Each new day the curse is greater than of the day before.
If everything is deteriorating, why does the world continue to exist? By the sanctification that is said in the order, [sidrah] and by the response: Let His great name [y’hay shmay rabah] be blessed, etc., which is recited after the study of Talmud. As it is stated: “A land of thick darkness, as darkness itself; a land of the shadow of death, without any order” (Job 10:22). Therefore, if there are orders of prayer and study, the land shall appear from amidst the darkness.
In Orthodox Judaism, the Talmud is considered Holy and part of the Oral Torah, which is at the same level of the written Torah, for understanding G-d’s ways. It is therefore considered the most important part of the Jewish practice of Jewish men to attend minion every day, in order to bless G-d and declare his greatness.
For Thousands of years, Jews would give up their very lives to attend the Beit HaKenesset (the synagogue) in order to be part of the minion, to say the Kaddish and other prayers.
So, now because of the Coronavirus, the Chief Rabbi has closed all the synagogues. What was permitted were small out door minions with everybody more than six feet apart. This worked for a few days, but then the regulations were not be being followed in Bnei Brak, and large minions with people pressed up against either were still going on. Many attended the midnight funeral of Rabbi Tzvi Shenkar in the Tel Aviv suburb, amid worries that reluctance to adhere to social distancing rules in the Haredi community could lead to swiftly spreading and deadly outbreaks of the novel coronavirus..
Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a prominent leader of the Lithuanian ultra-Orthodox community in Bnei Brak, on Sunday called on his followers to perform their prayers individually and not in quorums of ten, as permitted by the Health Ministry.
Kanievsky cited pikuah nefesh, the Jewish imperative to save lives, as praying in groups could endanger people’s health.
The ruling marked a reversal for Kanievsky, who two weeks ago pushed back on government orders to shutter schools and yeshivas to curb the spread of the virus, insisting that Torah study continue uninterrupted.
Israel allows up to 20 people to attend religious events such as a funeral or wedding, provided they maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (6.5 feet) between each other.
Since we believe the Torah and the Talmud to be true, without some doing minions, so that Kaddish can be said, will the world survive?
Love Yehuda Lave
Maybe we need a fresh start like Benjamin in this story:
A Fresh Start
Benjamin goes to see Rabbi Levy. “Rabbi,” he says, “my life is in ruins. My Judith has left me and she’s taken our children and our dog with her. She has also taken all my money and my car and as a result my business is in ruins. Please help me Rabbi, I don’t know what to do.”
After a few minutes thinking about the problem, Rabbi Levy replies, “Okay Benjamin, here is what you should do. Go home and open up your Bible to any page. Point randomly anywhere on that page and whatever it says, you must do. Do you understand?”
“Yes Rabbi,” replies Benjamin, “I’ll try.”
So Benjamin goes home, takes his Bible from his bookcase, sits down with it, opens it to a random page, points and reads.
Six months later, Benjamin goes to see Rabbi Levy again. “Rabbi,” he says, “since I saw you last, I’ve become a new man. I’ve remarried and become very successful in my business. I’ve even got a new dog and called it Levy after you. So I want to thank you Rabbi for the advice you gave me. It changed my life.”
“If you don’t mind me asking,” says Rabbi Levy, “I’ve got a bad memory. What did I suggest you do that helped you so much?”
“Well Rabbi, you told me six months ago to open my Bible to any page, point, and to do what it says.”
“So what did it say?” asks Rabbi Levy.
“Chapter 11,” replies Benjamin.