The recitation of Kaddish for a loved one is a central religious practice for many Jews. Traditionally, this prayer is recited in order to testify on behalf of our loved one as they make their way to the world to come. By praising God in honour of our relative, we are expediting their arrival in the world to come.
For some, this explanation is meaningful. For others, the idea that this person needed any help in order to enter the world to come is absurd due to the amazing character of their life. The problem that I have always had with this explanation is that it does not make clear why we can only say the Kaddish as part of a minyan, the quorum of 10 Jews. If it is simply making testimony, one should be able to do that anywhere and at any time, not exclusively at a service with a minyan. [Read more…]