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    Too many prayers, too much Kaddish? – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why are the prayers so repetitive and irrelevant and why does Kaddish come so often?

    artscroll siddurA. You are jumping to too many conclusions. Just because something is reiterated that doesn’t make it wrong.

    What gets repeated in the prayers are major themes such as truth, goodness, mercy, faith, hope, love, peace and destiny. If there are extra things you want to pray for, pray for them.

    The set prayers address themselves to God – fair enough, since He created the world and He is the one who governs it, and there is no reason not to acknowledge His role and applaud who He is, what He does, what He expects of us and what we expect of Him.

    The fact that we say Kaddish so often is not because it’s a prayer about death (it isn’t) but because it praises God and yearns for His Kingdom, and this is inserted in various forms (some shorter, some longer) after each section of the service.

    Just because there is a special role allotted to mourners in praising God, that doesn’t make Kaddish or any of its versions a memorial prayer – it simply says that precisely because a death has made it harder to praise God, that’s what a mourner should try to do.

    A postscript: the worship service actually has three elements, not just one – prayers, psalms and readings.

    The prayers speak to God, the psalms put us in a spiritual mood, and the readings inform and instruct us.

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