Monday, February 06, 2012

Mourning: A clash of halachic principles

On the one hand, the Torah sheh BiCh'tav (Written Law) says "kabed et avicha v'et imecha/honor your father and your mother."

On the other hand, later tradition has established that one of the principle ways of honoring one's father and mother is to say the kaddish prayer three days a day for 11 months after their deaths.

On the third hand (you should pardon the expression), going to daily minyan is making me sick because I'm not getting enough sleep.

So either I say kaddish whenever I've had enough sleep to go to minyan without literal ill effect, or I pay someone else to say kaddish on my behalf three times a day.

My conclusion: I decided long ago that I show more honor to my father (and, previously, showed more honor to my mother) when I say kaddish whenever I can than when I farm out my chiyuv/obligation to someone who never met my parents.

But I do understand that some other folks think it's more important to ensure that kaddish is said three times daily than to worry about who's saying it.


Blogger ysh said...

Most Rabbis will tell you that you've fulfilled your obligation reciting Kaddish once a day.

The Yekke minhag is that only one avel says kaddish at any time. So instead of a cacaphony, the kahal only answers a single person reciting Kaddish clearly. Even if there is more than one avel present.

I've got a month left to finish Kaddish for my father z"l, and I'm not ashamed that I missed a handful of minyanim due to health, weather or sheer exhaustion. I haven't missed a single day, though.

I'm sure that all involved would agree that your health is the number one priority. Aveilut is not about taking on more religious minhag obligation than you can handle.

Mon Feb 06, 06:30:00 PM 2012  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

"I haven't missed a single day. . ."

YSH, I wish I could say the same--I rarely get to daily minyan more than 4 days a week, if that. I simply can't wake up early enough to commute to the nearest minyan if I've gone to bed later than around 10 PM, lest I literally lose sleep and make myself ill again. I'll go with this part of your comment: "your health is the number one priority."

Tue Feb 07, 11:56:00 AM 2012  
Blogger The Physicist said...

When doing three points it is traditional to use "on the gripping hand" instead of "on the third hand" (Pournelle, "the mote in god's eye").

Wed Feb 08, 09:43:00 PM 2012  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

You've piqued my curiosity. I haven't read "The Mote in God's Eye," but I'll put it on my future-reading list.

Fri Feb 10, 02:12:00 PM 2012  

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