The following story illustrates the importance of reciting Kaddish
for the deceased.
morning Benny burst into Congregation Khal Bais Yitzchok in Brooklyn,
New York as the Rabbi, Rabbi
Dovid Goldwasser, was putting away his Talis and Tefilin. Benny was
noticeably agitated and stumbled out that his cousin, Sandy, had passed away the previous night. As
Sandy’s parents were not religious, Benny
was concerned that Sandy
would not receive a proper Jewish burial. Benny asked Rabbi Goldwasser
if he could arrange it. The rabbi assured Benny that he would take care of it
and asked him to tell him about Sandy.
and his family weren’t loyal to the customs of their ancestors who were
great Sephardic Rabbis. Sandy’s
parents always felt strongly about education and sent him to the best schools.
Upon graduating college, Sandy
got a job in a brokerage firm and worked his way up from being a clerk to
becoming a broker.
the stock market crashed and Sandy
found himself without a job. That was the beginning of the end for Sandy. He just sat at
home, read the newspaper or slept, and didn’t do much of anything. After
a while, he began acting strange in other ways. He would stare straight in
front of him for hours. Then he started wandering the streets. All day he just
walked around aimlessly; and then one night he just didn’t come home at
“He began living on
the streets. He became one of the homeless. The only thing was, Sandy
had a home. He just refused to go to it. His parents asked the policeman who
patrolled the area where Sandy
slept to keep an eye on him. Poor Sandy
just deteriorated. His parents tried to convince him to return home, but he
wouldn’t listen. He couldn’t listen. The
“Then we just gave up on him. We
didn’t hear anything from Sandy
for about a year. Last night, the policeman called my aunt and uncle. He was
patrolling his beat when he saw Sandy
lying in a doorway. He walked over and called to him, but Sandy didn’t answer or move. When the officer
leaned over, he realized Sandy
Rabbi Goldwasser expressed his sympathy to Benny and
gave him a few words of chizuk (encouragement). “The Ribbono shel Olam (Master of the World) takes care of every neshamah (soul), Benny. Your cousin’s
is now in His hands. You don’t have to worry about him anymore.”
and told Benny whom to call for the funeral arrangements. Throughout the rest
of the day Rabbi Goldwasser kept thinking about
That night, Rabbi Goldwasser
could not sleep. Finally, toward morning, however, he fell into a deep sleep
and had a very vivid dream. In the dream he found himself in what seemed to be
a Middle Eastern country. He was praying before the congregation in a brightly
lit Shul. As he reached the Shema, he suddenly
realized that there were three men standing around him. They were dressed in
Sephardic attire — with large, embroidered skullcaps and long ornate
robes. Their faces radiated holiness. Rabbi Goldwasser
stopped his prayers and looked up at them inquiringly.
They asked in Hebrew, “Who will say Kaddish for the neshamah (soul) of Shaul
ben Yaakov?” Then they repeated three times.
“Who will say Kaddish for Shaul ben Yaakov?”
suddenly woke up and felt very disturbed by the dream. It had been so strange.
It felt as if he was being asked to do something. He was not sure what.
After davening that morning, Benny came into the Shul. The Rabbi was to
accompany Benny to his cousin’s funeral. Benny looked downcast.
poor guy,” he kept repeating.
“Benny, what was your cousin Sandy’s
Hebrew name?” Rabbi Goldwasser inquired.
“Rabbi, I don’t know. Everyone called him Sandy.”
“Who would know, Benny? It’s very important.”
“I guess his parents know. We could ask them when we get to the
Benny approached his uncle; “Uncle Joey, what was Sandy’s Hebrew name?” Benny
His uncle looked up. “Sandy’s Hebrew
name? We never used it. What’s the difference anyway?”
“The rabbi needs to know.”
“The rabbi?” He glanced in the direction of the Rabbi.
“Okay. We named him Shaul
at his bris milah,
but we never called him that.”
“Okay, okay. And what’s yours, Uncle Joey? What’s your Hebrew
recalled the dream in all its clarity.
Who will say Kaddish for Shaul ben Yaakov?
It was now quite obvious the message of the
dream. For eleven months following Sandy’s
death, Rabbi Goldwasser deemed it a Divine obligation
to say Kaddish for the neshamah of
Shaul ben Yaakov.
from It Happened in Heaven by Rabbi Dovid Goldwasser.
Published by Feldheim Publishers.
If you know someone who needs the Kaddish recited on their behalf
contact the Kaddish Lifeline.
Arranging Kaddish for a
loved one will bring merit to the deceased as well as to the one who arranges
Contact the Kaddish Lifeline at 866-542-3347 or visit www.kaddishlifeline.org to submit a
name or for more information, insights and stories.
The Kaddish Lifeline is ready to help.