The first time the soul says goodbye - Kaddish

New York, 2 Kislev 5748.
Transcribed by Avraham Heller for Connections
Copyright (C) 1988 Inner Foundation
Reprinted with permission
Not for commercial redistribution without consent of
copyright holder and the Estate of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

It is thirty days since Dovidl’s mother passed
away. According to our holy tradition, when a soul departs
from this world there are steps: the way in which the soul
says goodbye.

  The first time the soul says goodbye is when it leaves the
body. It’s a heavy kind of goodbye. Somehow the soul is
still connected to the body, but not connected enough to
give life to the body in an ordinary way. Everybody knows
(they should live long) that at a funeral the dead person is
completely aware of how they are buried. You know, all the
Rabbis would say that when you go to a funeral you better
mean it for real, because the person looks at you and knows
if it’s for real or not. They already have heavenly eyes and
they look at you. This is one sense of saying goodbye.
The second goodbye is after seven days. The soul and the
body are getting a little more distant. The body is resting in
the cemetery and the soul goes up, but there’s still some
connection. The connection is not so much to the body as it
is to the people who love this person very much. After
thirty days, the soul somehow goes up to heaven. And for
eleven months the soul is judged, and this is the time when
people who are closest to the person who left the world are
saying Kaddish.

    Each time Kaddish is said it’s like you’re giving energy to
that soul in an unbelievable way. So tonight it’s thirty days.
How can anybody say how much we love our mother or how
much our mother loves us. You have no idea. While the person
is in this world the soul is in garments and even the love
is in garments. It’s clear to you and me, when our mothers
say to us, “Why don’t you eat more, why don’t you sleep
more? “-you know what they are telling us? They just want
us to know how much they love us. But sadly enough, in
this world, there is no way to say it except in a garmented
way. So they say, “eat chicken soup, sleep more, are you
making a lot of money?” All these things, they mean so
much more, but sadly they don’t know how to say it. But
when they leave this world, it’s so deep that when a person
says Kaddish at that moment the person from the other
world is actually standing beside them and telling them how
much they love them. And this is just so awesome.

    When we are born our parents carry us. When they die,
we carry them, but the truth is they are carrying us forever.
Just as Yakov Avinu asked his children to carry him back
to Eretz Yisroel before he died, but he was really telling
them, I will carry you back from the four corners of the

Learn more about kaddish at

by  Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
Posted in: Personal Growth