Last month I read a comment written by someone on social network on the final day of his saying Kaddish for his parent. He wrote about feeling the effect of the Kaddish during the first month of reciting it, then thereafter, nothing. Several others chimed in posting similar remarks, empathising with his experience.

I was just entering my last month of Kaddish for my beloved father Of Blessed Memory when I read those comments and it left me perturbed. Kaddish is a powerful prayer that enables the mourner to connect with the dearly departed in a most dramatic way. the moment a loved one departs this world there is a compelling void. There are no more conversations to be had, no more embraces to be shared. But there is Kaddish, through which the souls here and those above can still connect on a very deep level.

Repetitiveness can cause loss of momentum. The first time a young man puts on Tefilin he is surely excited about the prospect, treasuring each encircle when winding the straps around his arm. Ten years later he is rushing through the process, monotonously going through an obligatory routine rather than a cherished ritual. But while breaking the sense of monotony is an ongoing challenge, Kaddish is different because it is accompanied by an entirely different emotion. You are not saying the Kaddish for yourself. You are doing it for the benefit of the soul of the deceased and it is essentially a unique opportunity afforded the living to still impact the departed.

One wonders what the significance of the Kaddish is when there is no mention about death, the departed, the soul or anything of the sort. It is an elaborate praise of G-d Himself: “Exalted and sanctified is His great name.” Yet, the mystics explain that when a soul is taken this world, a piece of G-d is also somewhat affected, so to speak. Reciting the Kaddish rectifies that, bringing solace to G-d as it were, and by extension also to the soul of the departed.

Furthermore, the criteria for the Kaddish – to be recited only in a quorum of ten men, is in fulfilment of the mitzvah “and I shall be sanctified amidst the children of Israel” (Vayikra 22:32). Fulfilling this unique mitzvah for the sake of a loved one again brings them great comfort.

Finally, there is the deeper significance of some of the passages within the Kaddish. For example, the main part of the response to the Kaddish is the line: Yihai shmai rabbah mvorach, lolam ulolmai ulmayah – May his great name be blessed forever, eternally. This phrase contains seven words and 28 letters. The very first verse of the Torah, Bereshit bara Elokim et hashamayim vet haaretz – In the beginning G-d created the heaven and the earth,, also contains seven words and 28 letters. In addition, the introductory line to the Ten Commandments, Vayadabair Elokim et kol hadevarim haelah, laimor – And G-d spoke all these words, saying, contains seven words and 28 letters. Thus, saying Kaddish triggers this response the congregation, linking to these two monumental events. This too is a source of joy and merit for the deceased.

The words of the Kaddish might not be about the living or the dearly departed, but bearing in mind the aforementioned and how one directly affects the soul engendering great elevation is a tremendous source of comfort for the mourner.

I would pause momentarily before each Kaddish and think of my father. I would think about the meaning of the words I was saying and the impact it was having. I felt privileged and moved each and every time.

Last night I recited Kaddish for the final time. I was overcome with emotion as I struggled through the final words. I will no longer have this unique connection. But my job is done – the mission complete. My father’s soul will have surely received the elevation he so rightly deserves. I am grateful for the opportunity of sharing in that. May his memory be for a blessing.