Mourners’ Kaddish: A Poetic Interpretation

יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא

Growing in holiness, we inhale and breathe tiny human words 

Into the immensity of sacred spacetime





בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ בְּחַיֵּיכון וּבְיומֵיכון וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָל בֵּית יִשרָאֵל בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב, וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן

In this breathing moment and all the sunsets to come

As trees broaden in ring and root, and raindrops carve boulders to sand

As human languages are born and changed and silenced

We say: Amen


יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא

May the ripple of these blessings

Be felt for infinite lifetimes


יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרומַם וְיִתְנַשּא וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל שְׁמֵהּ דְּקֻדְשָׁא. בְּרִיךְ הוּא 

May geodes and damselflies, 

Soft fur, dark berries, glowing plankton

Be marveled at, praised, adored

For their own sake

And we say: bless it all!


בריך הוא

Bless it all!


לְעֵלָּא לְעֵלָּא מִכָּל בִּרְכָתָא וְשִׁירָתָא תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֱמָתָא דַּאֲמִירָן בְּעָלְמָא. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן

Every song, every blessing, every compassionate utterance

Rises high and sinks deep, expands and contracts

And reverberates beyond our time on this planet

And we say: Amen


יְהֵא שְׁלָמָא רַבָּא מִן שְׁמַיָּא וְחַיִּים עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל כָּל יושְׁבֵי תֵבֶל. וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן

May the wonder of the night sky make space in my god-wrestling heart

And enfold all the restless hearts in a vast peace

And we say: Amen


עושה שָׁלום שָּׁלום בִּמְרומָיו היא תעשה שָׁלום עָלֵינוּ וְעַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל כָּל יושְׁבֵי תֵבֶל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן

May all the cycles of my life and of all our human lives

Echo the easeful orbit of the celestial bodies

And we say: Amen

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