Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Aveilus and Kaddish

I tend to link aveilus and the of saying kaddish together.  That is, kaddish is being said either by someone who is in aveilus or on behalf of someone in aveilus.  The truth is, though, they are two different activities and serve different functions.  Aveilus provides a n'chama to the nifter and to the avel.  Kaddish provides merits to the nifter and an elevation of the soul in the olam shel emes.  It is possible to have cases where one is applicable and the other not.  For example, I am saying kaddish now for my wife's brother, who had no children of his own.  Halichos Shlomo discusses a few other special cases and how to handle them.

First, I was interested to see a halachic reference to adoption.  Halichos Shlomo says it is appropriate for an adoptee to sit shiva and accept n'chama for a the adopter out of hakaras hatov.  Of course, this is only l'chumra; the "avel" would still need to put on t'fillin on the first day, not be patur from talmud torah, etc.  This has two implications that are very personally interesting to me.  Imagine a ger whose father was Jewish and who also has children from a Jewish wife from before he converted.  That ger has no halachik relationship with either generation.  From this Halichos Shlomo, it would be appropriate for said ger to sit shiva for his father and for his children to sit for him.  (When the time comes; let's not rush things.)

Another case: a person has only daughters, so there are aveilos, but no one to say kaddish.  The daughters' sons, he says, are the most appropriate to take that role, and even to daven from the amud.  In fact, if there other aveilim, the Halichos Shlomo says it they should take turns at the amud.  Moreover, it is appropriate for them to daven from the amud on chol ha'moed and rosh chodesh; and that is true even if there are sons.  Since the reason a son does not daven on those occasions is out of kavod ha'tzibur, and that reason does not apply to the grandsons.

One more case.... if a person, rachmana latzlan, chooses cremation or donation to science (essentially just as bad halachically), then the there is no aveilus, though the sons should say kaddish for the entire 12 months after the p'tira (not jsut 11).  On a positive note, when one family heard that p'sak, they were able to convince the person to retract his distressing decision and opt instead for a proper k'vurah.


Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…