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The divine embrace — fusing word and movement in Kaddish

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When each one of us is a newborn, our parents often hold us up to them by cupping their palm in one hand under our heads and wrapping their other hand and arm around our little body. They support our head and our heart. They provide us with safety and security; they surround us with their love.

Perhaps Solomon intimates about these feelings in the verse: “His left hand is under my head, His right embraces me” (Shir HaShirim, 2:6). The people of Israel are lovesick for God and are desperate for a Hug.

During the year of Kaddish for a loved one, we continually merge thoughts of distance and nearness. What is Kaddish if not its theme statement: “May the great Name (of God) be forever blessed!” or perhaps “May it be that the great God continues to always bless us!”. The first reading speaks to God as the true Judge as we mourn our loss; the second reading emphasizes our recognition of God’s closeness.

There exists an interested minhag/custom associated with the recitation of Kaddish. Based on practices recorded by Rav Amram Gaon, the 9th century codifier of our early liturgy and head of the Sura Yeshiva in Iraq, one........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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