Kaddish Speaks to Mourners

The Kaddish responds to three questions: Is there a God? Why do people die? What is the meaning of life?

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Yet, the tradition asks the mourner to stand up and make the statement, "I'm expected to work towards the establishment of God's complete and perfect world in my lifetime." What does that say? It says, "Mourner, you have never been in a better position to appreciate the brevity of life, and the fact that you have a mission in this life--to establish God's kingdom--and you don't have very long to do it! You must therefore redouble your efforts to bring God's kingdom into existence."

Who is more in touch with the realities of the human condition than the mourner? That's why Judaism decided that it should be the mourner who proclaims in the benediction to the service the ultimate meaning of human existence.

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Rabbi Bernard Lipnick

Rabbi Bernard Lipnick (1926-2010) served as the rabbi of Congregation B'nai Amoona in St. Louis for more than 40 years.