Friday, February 10, 2017

Kaddish for those who mourn

Christians are admonished to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15, ESV). The NIV is even more direct: “mourn with those who mourn”. Having lost a spouse, I’ve found that I have a close and automatic connection to others who have lost spouses, especially those who were married for a long time.

Today, a Jewish friend of mine is observing anniversary the death of her husband of 28 years. In Jewish tradition, a special prayer is said on this day, called a Kaddish (it can be for the anniversary of anyone’s death). I found the prayer to be especially poignant and God-honoring. Here is an English version and a link to the prayer in Hebrew:

Exalted and hallowed be God's great name
in the world which God created, according to plan.
May God's majesty be revealed in the days of our lifetime
and the life of all Israel -- speedily, imminently, to which we say Amen.

Blessed be God's great name to all eternity.

Blessed, praised, honored, exalted, extolled, glorified, adored, and lauded
be the name of the Holy Blessed One, beyond all earthly words and songs of blessing,
praise, and comfort. To which we say Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and all Israel,
to which we say Amen.

May the One who creates harmony on high, bring peace to us and to all Israel.
To which we say Amen.

This sounds a lot like Paul’s exclamation in Romans 11:33: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”


  1. That brought back memories from when I worked in corrections. Had an older Jewish inmate who couldn't get any help from the chaplain on staff. The inmate came to me and asked if I could contact the local Jewish temple so he could speak with the Rabbi about performing the service for his wife who had died a couple of years earlier. The chaplain was a TBN type person and for all his love of the Jews and the herding them into the Holy Land so the rapture could happen and the Jews could be slaughtered, he didn't much care for the Jews other then that. I called the local synagogue and gave them the inmates name. The Rabbi came that Sunday and they got it all squared away. I'll never forget that the inmate thanked me and said I was the only Christian in his life that actually treated him as an equal and with dignity and respect.

    1. Thanks for sharing that story Robert :-)

  2. It's even sadder that, for most American Jews, the words of the Mourner's Kaddish constitute but a mere cultural activity. Said Jews are ipso or de facto atheists, or believers in the false god of Rabbi Kushner. The Kaddish makes me think of Jesus' words to the scribe in Mark 12:32-34: "thou art not far from the kingdom of God." We should pray for your friend's comfort and salvation.

    1. Kirk, I can guarantee you that it's not a mere cultural activity for this woman.

    2. Is your friend orthodox? Thinking of the funerals, bar and bat mitzvahs, seders, and other activities my Jewish colleagues have invited me to in the past, prayers like the Kaddish (including the grace before and after meals,blessings over bread and wine, etc) were merely pro forma for a group with a theology that reduced to the belief that, if God exists, she would have voted for Hillary. The orthodox are another group all together.