Limited Space – Reflections on Kaddish

An excerpt from Goodbye, Mom: A Memoir of Prayer, Jewish Mourning and Healing by Arnie Singer


The rabbi of the shul I’ve been saying kaddish at recently handed me a card with someone’s hebrew name on it, and asked if I would have them in mind when I said kaddish on their upcoming Yahrzeit. I felt sorry that the departed soul had no one to recite kaddish on its behalf, but I returned the card to the rabbi. I simply don’t have the space in my mind to think about anyone’s soul other than my mother’s.

The kaddish that I recite several times daily is solely and exclusively dedicated to the elevation of her soul. It is a duty that I fulfill with great “kavanah”. When I recite it, I think of her speaking to me, looking at me, smiling at me, and saying good bye as she embarked on her eternal journey just over three months ago. As I exalt and praise the Name of God, my eyes well up with tears and my heart aches. My only consolation is that I believe that my holy declaration is comforting her eternal soul and easing it’s journey in the world of truth. When the holy angels and righteous souls see her son standing in the synagogue praising the Name, they embrace her, warmly welcoming her into the Garden of Eden.

I’m grateful to have been given this holy task, to be able to give something to the woman who gave me everything. Every ounce of my self and my spirit is focused on this duty. I have no space left over for anything, or anyone, else.

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