kaddish in two-part harmony podcasts

daily kaddish: what a difference a collaborator makes

I whined to Mira, “Oh, shit, I have to make a Kaddish, what a bummer.” She looked at me in horror and said, “Well, then you don’t get to do it.”


In her early essay in which Mira accepted my proposal to launch this project, she laid down some conditions. I ran right up against good old number two tonight:

The second condition is that this not become a tyranny, as in, oh shit, I have to write a kaddish meditation today, what a bummer.

It had been a long weekend. I was still trying to get over one of those nasty summer colds, hadn’t slept well, and played an opera that warm, muggy afternoon in which it was all most of us could do to stay awake. We’d made, eaten, and cleaned up a dinner, and all I wanted to do was collapse.

I whined to Mira, “Oh, shit, I have to make a Kaddish, what a bummer.”

She looked at me in horror and said, “Well, then you don’t get to do it.”

I insisted. “But I’ve found it’s the ones I really don’t feel like doing where I tend to learn something. Doing it anyway.”

That Protestant work-ethic thing gets me sometimes.

Mira was firm. “No. This must not be a tyranny.”

“I’ll get some work done first. I’ll do it in a while.”

So I opened my laptop and started plowing through some tedious work I needed to get done before my Monday meetings, and next thing I know, Mira’s got that godawful “learn to do a professional Kaddish” thing open on her Mac—the one we both poked a bit of fun at after Mira wrote her Kaddish for Rabbi Schneerson—and we’re both reciting along with it and cracking up.

We decided to back up and start over, recording the silliness for posterity.

So there it was—a daily kaddish that felt like a tyrannical bummer, made fun by my collaborator.

By erin

Erin Vang, PMP, BMus, MMus, is Owner and Principal Pragmatist of the consultancy Global Pragmatica LLC®, offering custom JMP scripting, localization program management, and facilitative leadership services. She is also an orchestral horn player who freelances in the San Francisco Bay Area and plays assorted brass for the celebrated dance bands Midnight Smørgåsbord and contraPtion. More about Erin…

2 replies on “daily kaddish: what a difference a collaborator makes”

According to George Leonard, in his book The Ultimate Athlete, the ‘real’ athlete is the one who plows through even on those days where s/he doesn’t want to even get out of bed in the morning. Your determination to do the practice that you’ve committed to demonstrates that quality that Leonard treasures above all others. ‘Practice’ is a verb before it can be a noun. And you’ve made kaddish in two-part harmony your practice.

He must also say something about having a partner, because it makes a huge difference. Many is the time that I would have just dropped this whole thing had it been a solo venture, but knowing that I’ve made the commitment to you, my collaborator, means that each day I do it anyway—and on those days, the discovery is waiting.

This one brought several discoveries:

  • that even Kaddish needs a sense of humor sometimes
  • that my collaborator knows just what to do when I need help
  • that Ashkenaz Yiddish (as demonstrated by that website) sounds ridiculous

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.