From the Desk - Saying Kaddish
Shalom Friends! I hope you are all enjoying the summer, wherever you are in the world! We are excited and delighted to wish Mazel tov this week to Nadine and Amir Anders on the birth of their baby grandson! May they see much nachas and continued simcha! Dates for Your Diary Amidst all the enjoyment of the beautiful weather (I think it is beautiful weather!), the staff, board and volunteers are working on a series of exciting and meaningful programs as we build up to the new Jewish Year. Here is an outline of future events:
Thursday August 24th - Our Annual Raffle Draw. There's still time to buy tickets! Please call the synagogue office to make your purchase!
Sunday August 27th - Our Annual Holocaust Memorial Service. This is the time when we pay our respects to those who were murdered in the Shoah and resolve never to forget them. Please make every effort to attend.
Wednesday August 30th - Join us for another wonderful Beth Ora BBQ!
Shabbat September 9th - the launch of Junior Congregation - Watch this space for more details!
Sunday September 10th (10:30-1:00) - Congregation Beth Ora comes together for a giant fruit salad making! All fruit salad will be donated to homes and shelters.
Saturday September 16th - After Shabbat, we hold our memorial and selichot services, but this time with a difference. This year's program features addiction expert Rabbi Benyamin Bresinger with whom we'll be discussing the question: Can we really change?
Sunday September 17th - special pre-Rosh Hashanah kids' craft program
Hadar Goldin and Shaul Oron Last Shabbat, we joined many synagogues throughout Canada to raise awareness and to support the struggle of the families of Hadar Goldin and Shaul Oron to retrieve the bodies of their sons. Please join me in signing this petition and please send it to your personal contact lists.
What's the Deal With...Saying Kaddish? I am grateful to Rabbi Josh Flug for the sources discussed here. We can understand the practice of reciting Kaddish in terms of a statement in the Talmud that the good deeds of a child can help a parent. Rabbi Shmuel Eidels (Maharsha, 1555-1631) explains that the parent deserves some credit for every good deed that the child does. Rabbi Bachya ben Asher (1255-1340) explains it in terms of a more general principle. He writes that someone who is alive can do something on behalf of someone who has died and this is the basis for giving tzedakah or saying Kaddish on behalf of someone else. There is an additional benefit of the child doing this as it allows the deceased to reap the rewards of raising children properly. Another rabbi, Maharam Chalava (1290-1370), disagrees with Rabbi Bachya. He writes that once someone dies, they generally can no longer receive any merits. An exception, however, is a child’s good deeds because those are indicative of the parent’s good deeds in raising the child and they therefore count retroactively towards the parent, similar to someone who pledged money during their lifetime that wasn’t paid until after death. Yet another perspective is advanced by Rabbi Elazar of Worms (1776-1238) who writes that we pledge tzedakah on behalf of people who are deceased because we believe that G-d will look at this action and judge if the deceased would have given this tzedakah if he were still alive and had the means. Quite aside from the benefit Kaddish can bring to a parent, some halachic authorities rule that reciting Kaddish is a fulfilment of one’s obligation to honor one’s parents. Rabbi Avraham Gombiner (1633-1683) writes that if one cannot recite Kaddish, it is better to hire someone rather than find someone to do it for free. Rabbi Moshe Teitelbaum (1759-1841) suggests that paying money constitutes an effort on the part of the child of the deceased so that they mitzvah is not simply being delegated to someone else. The leading halachic authority of the last generation, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, discusses whether someone who is getting paid to recite Kaddish can do so for multiple people. He rules that a person may do so as long as he recites one Kaddish per day for each individual he is getting paid for. He also writes that before reciting each Kaddish, the individual 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 the individual is reciting more than one per day, one must clarify before taking the money, otherwise it could be stealing.