Monday, May 26, 2014

Remembering and Praising

During the weekly synagogue worship service, there is a time in which we pause and remember our dearly departed.  The worship leader calls on the members of the congregation who have raised their hand to say the name of the person they are remembering.  No details on who that person is, or what the relationship is, or when they died.  Just the name.   This implies that we trust that God knows who they are and knows our relationship to them.  Then all together, we recite the ‘Mourner’s Kaddish’, in Aramaic.  It’s the same prayer that is said several other times during the same worship service, but this time we say it to mourn and remember.  The thing is, there is not one thing in this prayer other than praise of God.

Yesterday at church we did a similar thing.  It was partly for Memorial Day, to honor military people who lost their lives, but we extended it to any and all people we wanted to remember.  Because we’re Presbyterians, we had to do this with our heads bowed and eyes closed, so the pastor did not call on us as the rabbi does at synagogue, but just left it to potluck that we wouldn’t speak on top of one another.  I thought hearing the names said out loud from all parts of the sanctuary was beautiful and poignant. 

I named my father and my father-in-law.  My father-in-law was in the army during WWII and spent some time in New Guinea.  He never talked about it, at least not while I was around.  My father was in the Army Corps of Engineers, serving in Japan during the Korean War.  He did not talk about it much.

Here is the Jewish mourner’s kaddish, translated into English, to remember and honor our loved ones on this Memorial Day.

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.


Suburban Correspondent said...

The English doesn't do it justice. But is it really in Aramaic? I thought it was Hebrew. Hearing it recited gives me chills.

The Crislers said...

That was beautiful to read; I would love to hear it recited.

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

Oh, that's lovely. Thank you, from one Presbyterian to another.