Plato is attributed with stating that we must be kind to everyone, as we don’t know what people are going through. In Judaism the ultimate true kindness (“Hesed shel Emet”) is attending a funeral or memorial service, as the deceased cannot thank you personally. One shows ones respect just because it’s the kind and right thing to do.
A few days ago my IDF unit was at a staging post, near the cemetery of an evacuated Kibbutz near Gaza when a Ministry of Defense contractor arrived to prepare the grave of a soldier who was killed in action on the black Shabbat of October 7.
It was the “shloshim” (thirty day) anniversary of his death, and there was no one from his family or friends there, as we were in a closed military zone.
We spontaneously decided that as we are also his “family” we would hold an impromptu memorial service and said Kaddish for our brother-in-arms Idan z”l. Idan Baruch z”l fell in defense of our land. He was just 19.
Amid the grassy quietude and gently blowing wind by the fresh grave we recited the Kaddish prayer celebrating the eternity and holiness of the Jewish people.