jbsegal: (Default)
[personal profile] jbsegal
I want to write something long and thoughtful about the Mourner's Kaddish and the problems it presents for an atheistic Jew such as myself, especially in concert with the amazing powers of ritual and tradition, but I know I won't get around to writing such a piece for quite a while, if ever, so in the mean time, I'll ask all the appropriate y'all... what do you do about this?

(The very short form is that the Jewish prayer for the dead says nothing at all about the dead and instead spends all its time praising God. I didn't really /get/ this until years after it was seared in to me as the Thing You Say when remembering the deceased and anything else _feels_ wrong. I've looked at various Humanistic versions of the Kaddish and none of them feel like What You Say... but
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.

- to quote 90% of it - is not what I'm looking for, similarly to how Ecclesiastes 3 (To every thing (Turn, turn, turn)...) isn't, either.

Date: 2015-02-04 05:12 pm (UTC)
cidney: Woman's face applying makeup. Photograph. (Default)
From: [personal profile] cidney
What in particular are you looking for with a mourning prayer? (as in, what would you like to be able to say about the dead? and in what context?)

for me the Mourner's Kaddish is powerful less because of what it says rather than the context -- everyone in mourning standing up to recite it at the same time in synagogue. so while the dead aren't mentioned explicitly (because what *can* you say that would be adequat?), there's a sense of shared mourning and community.

Date: 2015-02-05 03:38 pm (UTC)
whuffle: (Default)
From: [personal profile] whuffle
As someone who finds myself most comfortable living on the borderline between esoteric and mystic Judaism and Paganism, and has the same problem with the Mourners Kaddish, I've found myself reframing it as a communal Nigun. The words themselves are just sounds to me, a they've become a shared consciousness outcry of grief. Grief is something that, while personal, in my opinion also needs to be shared in order to honor the dead and process their passing in such a way that we can move forward retaining their memory without grief eventually drowning us from its accumulation. So I grieve by sharing in the ancient ritual that is my heritage and the opportunity for processing that it offers. And when it comes to the words (for which, as you said, there frequently are none at first) eventually when they come, I say them to those who will understand or I write them so those who didn't know the deceased can know why that being was special.

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