A Prayer for the Depressed

[image: Sadness, by T. Willson; © 2009 T. Willson CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

Sadness, by T. Willson; © 2009 T. Willson CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Today, for Wishcasting Wednesday, Jamie Ridler asks, “What do you wish to make room for?” Like most people, I have so much stuff, both physically and figuratively, it’s hard to make room for anything. But what I really want to make room for today is the following blog post, which I’ve wanted to write. But I haven’t had the space for it.

So today, I’m giving up my typical Wishcasting Wednesday post in order to talk about the Mourner’s Kaddish as a prayer for the depressed.

Even if you’re not jewish, you may remember the Mourner’s Kaddish from Yentl, or from the beginning of the X-Files episode, “Kaddish.” This is a prayer, spoken or chanted in Aramaic, that Jews say in remembrance of a dearly departed, during the eleven months following his death, and also on its anniversaries.

But the prayer itself never mentions death. Rather, it is a prayer of life, of encouragement, of peace, praising God, celebrating how great and wonderful He is.

These are wonderful thoughts with which to fill your mind after the passing of a loved one, because they help you to put your grief in perspective, to remember that despite how sad you feel, God is still good, and he’s still good to you.

What I’m about to suggest is definitely not orthodox. It isn’t even reformed. It has not been vetted or approved by any rabbi. But I personally have found it to be of comfort.

That not only are the words of the Mourner’s Kaddish appropriate as a religious rite, for the death of a loved one, but also do they comfort when you’re feeling down, for any reason. Because the depression we feel when a loved one dies is similar to the depression we feel when we are overwhelmed by circumstance and need. They call it “clinical depression,” but one of its most effective treatments is simply to turn your attention outward, to friends, to community, to God, not in bitterness, but in hope.

May each of us who faces sadness find encouragement in these words.


The Mourner’s Kaddish

In English… In Aramaic…
Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name, Amen, יִתְגַּדַּל וְיִתְקַדַּשׁ שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא אָמֵן
Throughout the world which He has created according to His will. בְּעָלְמָא דִּי בְרָא כִרְעוּתֵהּ
May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ בְּחַיֵּיכוֹן וּבְיוֹמֵכוֹן
And within the life of the entire House of Israel, וּבְחַיֵּי דְכָָל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל
Speedily and soon; and let us say, Amen. בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן
May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity. יְהֵא שְׁמֵהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא
Blessed and praised, and glorified, and exalted, and extolled, יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר וְיִתְרוֹמַם וְיִתְנַשֵּׂא
And honored, and adored, and lauded, be the name of the Holy One—blessed be He— וְיִתְהַדָּר וְיִתְעַלֶּה וְיִתְהַלָּל שְׁמֵהּ דְּקֻדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא
Beyond all blessings and songs, לְעֵלָּא מִן כָּל בִּרְכָתָא וְשִׁירָתָא
Praises and consolations, spoken of in the world; and let us say, Amen. תֻּשְׁבְּחָתָא וְנֶחֶמָתָא דַּאֲמִירָן בְּעָלְמָא וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן
May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life יְהֵא שְׁלָמָא רַבָּא מִן שְׁמַיָּא וְחַיִּים
For us and for all Israel; and let us say, Amen. עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן
He who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם
For us and for all Israel; and let us say, Amen עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן