Kaddish and Jewish prayer for the dead – what is the connection

Walking into a synagogue today, you could be surprised to hear the Kaddish being said – not in Hebrew, as you would anticipate, – but in Aramaic. The Kaddish as in Jewish prayer for the dead isn’t some free area of the service. Instead, it plays a substantial part and can be a highly prized burial. It appears odd that it ought to be in Aramaic.

Lots of individuals aren’t knowledgeable about how this wasn’t always so. One early record of the Kaddish, a story in the Talmud told by Rabbi Yosef, has the Kaddish – at least relevant portions of it in Hebrew. So why indeed can it be stated in Aramaic?

One suggestion is mainly due to its importance it’s said in Aramaic. Jews have had a checkered and hard career and weren’t always permitted the liberty to pray. To stop the prohibition on prayer, they resorted to praying special prayers in the vernacular, so it is not discovered. Which prayers were those? So Kaddish began to be said in Aramaic, and even though we’re free to worship as we want in the modern world, the tradition stuck.

Another reason provided is that at the Jewish prayer for the dead we beg for the arrival of this Messiah, and the end of days; the future world where his glory be disclosed. In future worlds, we think, man will occupy a position, great tan angels. Angels do great, but they aren’t creatures of free will, put in the problem of picking good out of bad. The man is, and so if he’s vertical, he defeats the angels in merit. Therefore man on earth to come will probably be on center stage, along with the angels will likely be watching out of the sides. We do not wish to flaunt this. Therefore we say that prayer in Aramaic, which the angels don’t understand.