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Be kinder about kaddish

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In response to Mr Feldman’s article in the SA Jewish Report, 10 February 2022, I started saying kaddish 42 years ago as a teen, and I was initially helped by my fellow congregants. Today I can rattle it off, but I don’t.

Mr Feldman’s response to a fellow mourner who was “too slow” was egotistical and self-centred. This response is the downfall of the yarmi wearing “Yid” to his fellow non-religious or unpractised Jew, and why we Jews suffer so much because of sinat chinum (baseless hatred).

His actions show both a lack of compassion for a fellow mourner and ignorance about what kaddish is. What if this was the first time a person was saying kaddish or they weren’t familiar with the service? To embarrass that person in public is equivalent to murder in Jewish law, and for him to return weeks later deprived that person of the chance to say kaddish.

Kaddish, when understood, is praise to Hashem, and you want to rush it? Kaddish should be said in unison and according to the slowest person in shul, and a kaddish that gets no communal response is like a wasted blessing. That’s why it’s said in public.

It’s possible that the rabbis will give a shorter drosha (discourse), the choirs will vanish, and the services will remain, but at what cost?

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