After we study a text, it is customary to say the Kaddish D’Rabbanan- the Rabbi’s or Teacher’s kaddish- probably the least known among the variations on the kaddish prayer. It is a special favorite because it combines two of Judaism’s highest values- learning and gratitude. In the Kaddish D’Rabbanan, we offer a prayer on behalf of our teachers. We learn in Pirke Avot 6:3, that one who learns from their friend, “a single chapter, or a single halacha, or a single verse, or a single expression, or even one letter, you should treat them with the greatest honor.” There are so many people we have to thank for being our teachers. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks beautifully articulated the preeminent value we, as Jews, place on learning, when he wrote- “Education, in Judaism, is the keystone of the social structure. It is the best way of securing equality and human dignity. It must be the top item in any budget. Jews knew that to defend a country you need an army, but to defend a civilisation you need schools. Education is the Jewish ministry of defense.” As you listen to the words of the Kaddish D’Rabbanan, think about a teacher who has been especially meaningful in your life- this year or any year. Send blessings of appreciation to them, blessings of grace, love and compassion, along with prayers for their ongoing well-being- full life, ample sustenance, enduring depth and meaning.
Sep 09 2013