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A New Mourner’s Kaddish

Posted on September 10, 2017 by Rabbi Andrea Goldstein

Throughout the course of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur we will join together in Kaddish Yatom (the Mourner’s Kaddish prayer) numerous times. This prayer is said as we call to mind loved ones who have passed away, members of our families and community whom we miss.

The last line of the Mourner’s Kaddish reads:

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael v’imru, Amen.

May the One who creates peace in the high heavens make peace for us and for all Israel. Amen.

In Mishkan HaNefesh, our new High Holy Day prayer book, an additional phrase is added to this last line.  It reads:

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael, v’al kol yoshvei teiveil, v’imru, Amen.

May the One who creates peace in the high heavens make peace for us, for all Israel, and all who dwell on earth. Amen.

While this small addition to a familiar prayer may take some getting used to, it is a welcome change for at least two reasons. On a personal level – all of us know and love people (friends, even family members) who are not Jewish. When we say v’al kol Yisrael (for all Israel), we are limiting the words of the Mourner’s Kaddish to members of the Jewish community. The addition of v’al kol yoshvei teivei opens the prayer up, allowing us to include the names of non-Jewish friends and family in our formal remembering in a more authentic way.

And from a more universal perspective, the addition of v’al kol yoshvei teiveil helps us align the words of our prayer with our deepest aspirations. As a people we are taught that we have a responsibility to care, not only for our own families and our own community, but for all peoples and creatures of the earth. We are responsible to work for peace, not just for ourselves, but for all people. And we are committed to remember the righteous ones of the Jewish community and the righteous souls of all communities and faiths, everywhere.

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