From the Desk - What's the Deal with Saying Kaddish?
Chanukah Sameyach, Friends!
I hope you're all enjoying a wonderful Chanukah!
Last Saturday night, we had a lovely gathering here at the synagogue. We said havdallah and lit the menorah in the sanctuary before going outside to turn on the electronic menorah. Rebbetzen Carly did a quiz for the kids and we all enjoyed some delicious donuts and hot soup. And, of course, we are excited for our main community Chanukah celebration this Friday night with our special My Big Fat Greek Chanukah Dinner! Before the dinner (at 4:45), I'll be giving a talk on 'How Can a Synagogue Hold a Greek Dinner on Chanukah?'
Please note that Mincha this Friday will be at the earlier time of 3:55. Please also remember that, on Friday, Chanukah candles must be lit before 4:02 PM and before the lighting of Shabbat candles. There must be enough oil/candle for the lights to last until 5:40.
As I write this on Wednesday, the snow has been thawing for a few days though I am told that Thursday will see a big snow storm! By the time you read this, you will know if I am right but, in either case, you will enjoy this video on Hanukkah and the Amazing Miracle of Snow.
We wish condolences to Sam Weinstein on the loss of his brother, Harry. May Hashem bring comfort to Sam and his family and may they only know happy times in the future.
We wish you Chanukah Sameyach and Shabbat Shalom and look forward to seeing lots of you on Friday night!
Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What's the Deal with....Saying Kaddish?
The Talmud states that the good deeds of a child can bring merit to a parent. The Maharsha (1555-1631), a major Talmudic commentator, explains that the parent deserves credit for every good deed that the child does. According to Rabbenu Bachya ben Asher (1255-1340), one of the great Biblical commentators and Jewish thinkers of the middle ages, saying Kaddish is an application of a general principle that someone who is alive can do something on behalf of someone who had died. He explains that this is also the idea of giving tzedakah in memory of someone who has died. He writes that there is an additional benefit of the child of the deceased doing the good deed because this allows the deceased to reap the rewards of raising children properly.
Saying Kaddish is also a way of fulfilling the mitzvah of honouring one's mother and father. The Talmud states that one must honour one's parents in life and death and a number of authorities note that reciting Kaddish is a way of showing this honour.
Halakhic authorities write that, if one cannot recite Kaddish, it is better to hire someone rather than find someone to do it for free. It is suggested that the reason for this ruling is that the family are able to invest more significantly in the mitzvah.
The great halakhic authority, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1895-1986) discusses whether someone who is getting paid to recite Kaddish can do so for multiple people. He notes that this person may do so as long as he recited one Kaddish per day for each individual he is getting paid for. He also writes that, before reciting each Kaddish, the person saying Kaddish should have in mind which individual he is reciting Kaddish for. He further notes that, if the person paying for the recitation of Kaddish thinks that Kaddish will be recited more than once per day, it must be clarified before the money is taken that that is not the case.