When someone dies, the family and friends left behind inevitably search for reasons or meaning. Many people turn toward organized religion as a means of coping, yet in Judaism, its not coping that is important, its transformation. This is the purpose of the Kaddish prayer, an ancient Aramaic prayer said in a quorum of 10 men to reaffirm the mourner’s belief in the Creator.
Dr. Harvey Finkelstein is one such person who used the power of Kaddish to help transform himself after his mother’s death in 2004. Finkelstein, now 54, connected to the prayer so much that he continued to attend the prayer quorum even after finishing his obligatory year of mourning.
The power of Kaddish is both something practical and powerful. A means to cope and a form of transformation. No matter what the reasons, mourners like Dr. Harvey Finkelstein have been saying it for millenia.