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George Burns' Watch
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

ow Leader Are Creaed
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Look Into My Eyes
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Modern Jew
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

oldier My oldier
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

armony, Expulion and Frura
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

elling Your oul
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

e Dualiy Of e uman Pyc
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Purim & Woodock
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

I’m Ju No In e Mood
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Wa Nieze Didn’ Undera
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ow o Deal Wi a Callenging
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Lig Afer une
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

ould Jew Be In e Limelig
Aaron Moss

 

Lig Reading
Mendel Jacobson

 

Carl Jung’ Unconiou and
Simon Jacobson

 

Wen Do You op Daing?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

e Lig a Never Burn Ou
Aaron Moss

 

The Raven & the Dove
Simon Jacobson

 

I Go Mail erefore I Am
Sarah Shapiro\Jerusalem

 

A ale of wo Mounain
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Le U Collec e ear
Dr. Elie Wiesel

 

Wy Irael?
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Democracy V. Libery
Raleigh Resnick

 

Ak My on Ak
Mendel Jacobson\Jerusalem

 

Paover and e Myery of u
Dov Greenberg

 

eder Plae: A Microcom of Yo
Simon Jacobson

 

I e Exodu a My?
Aaron Moss

 

Doe Evil Come from G-d?
Aaron Moss

 

Welcome o e Promied Land
Mendel Jacobson\Jerusalem

 

Of ree and Men
Yanki Tauber

 

Beween Women & Men
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

WYINWYG p:
Simon Jacobson

 

e Kabbala of Ceeecake
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

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Mendel Jacobson

 

Fragile Bu Eernal
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Gift of Imperfecion
Aaron Moss

 

Doe Judaim Need o Be Packag
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

The Desire for Desire
Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

Kill Me a Son
Simon Jacobson

 

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Yosef Y. Jacobson

 

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Life and Death
To the Fifth Yartzeit of My Father
By Yosef Y. Jacobson
 

Tonight, Monday evening, my siblings and I will commemorate the fifth yartzeit (anniversary of passing) of my dear father, Mr. Gershon Jacobson, who passed away five years ago on the 20th of Iyar, May 29, 2005.
With that special feeling reserved for people who were forced to watch the earth close up on a loved one, I will go to the synagogue and recite the kaddish prayers, connecting to my father’s zestful and inspiring memory.
And as I say Kaddish, I will have in mind a young friend of mine, Nosson Deitch, who was killed yesterday, on Lag Baomer, in a boat accident in Florida. A lump fills my throat as I write these words, about a beautiful, majestic and sincere soul, whose sudden death at the age of 21 is truly inexplicable and devastating beyond words.


The Kaddish


“Yeesgadal veyeeskadash shemey rabbah…”
“Exalted and hallowed be His great Name…”
These are the words which begin the kaddish prayer. The most blatant omission in kaddish is the soul of the deceased. Not even the slightest mention is made about our beloved one. The entire kaddish focuses exclusively on the Divine, exalting the greatness of G-d and His great name. Why?
When my siblings and I finished saying kaddish for my father at the end of 11 months after his passing, my oldest brother Rabbi Simon Jacobson penned a profound article on Kaddish. He proposed the following answer.
Death, as we all know, transcends the human vocabulary. No words can capture or do justice to the pain of death.
Intellectually one may understand that a soul never dies; that death is only the beginning of a new life in a different dimension. But emotionally, there is something about death that is forever inexplicable and could never be integrated. All the explanations in the world and beyond could not eliminate the tears, the grief, and perhaps more than all, the sense of finality.
The first and primary answer to death is that there is no answer. Till Moshiach comes speedily in our days, death can never find a comfortable space in our hearts.
Kaddish knows that nothing can really be said to console us for our losses; no words can justify or minimize the effects of experiencing death. So what do we talk about in the kaddish? We don’t recall the life of the deceased, which has been snatched away. Rather, we talk about the origin of all life, from which birth and death flow equally.
“Yeesgadal veyeeskadash shemey rabbah… Exalted and hallowed be His great Name… Yehey shemey rabbah mevarach lealam ulealmey almahyah… May His great Name be blessed forever and to all eternity…“
Rather than discussing the death of the person we are saying kaddish for, something which defies our sensibilities, we enter into a place which transcends both life and death. We climb the ladder of consciousness into the domain of eternity, which both precedes and follows all of existence, which is present before our birth and remains present after our demise.
The kaddish insists that the mortal, fragile life of an individual human being is intimately interconnected with the eternal source of all life and the cosmic source of all reality.
For us humans living and defined by our dimension of reality, we observe only one leg of the soul’s journey. Yet the kaddish invites us to connect to the immortal soul of the departed, and to the source of all immortality.
What does that do practically for us? I will be honest and say that I have no clue. The void remains and the pain persists. But somehow I too will find some comfort tonight in the words of kaddish, laying claim to the truth that my father died but he is not dead, and that by discovering “His great name,” I may discover the source and secret of my father’s life too.

 

 

 

 

Posted on May 7, 2010
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