Today (Sunday) is the Tenth of Tevet, the day set by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel to be the Day of the General Kaddish, for those victims of the Holocaust whose death date was never known, and in memory of all the 6 million Jews who were murdered. This piece, called ‘Kaddish’, by Maurice Ravel, and the accompanying story, are in their memory.
On the first Day of Judgement after the Holocaust, a group of survivors gathered for the traditional prayers beginning Rosh HaShana. Before they began, one of them spoke. “Today, Jews all over the world will plead with God to judge them favorably and grant them what they wish. What shall we wish for? Sustenance? We have lived on air for the past five years! Life? What life is there to those who have walked through hell?! Children? They were all taken from us, and have returned to the Earth from which we were born! And yet, as Jews, we yet have one last request from God on this day: ‘Yitgaddal veyitqaddash shmeh rabba!’*
*’May His great name be exalted and sanctified!’, the opening line of the Kaddish.