This facet of our custom to conclude the Kaddish a full month before the Yartzeit emphasizes our strong faith in the efficacy of our positive action to help the soul reach its place in paradise as soon as possible.

In addition to the custom outlined above there are other customs which prescribe that the Kaddish be concluded only one week or one day before the end of the year. This approach minimizes the good effects of the practice. Since Torah is the Torah of kindness it would logically prescribe the earliest statement of good merit so that the soul of the departed could rise to its place in paradise at the earliest possible moment — the full month before the Yartzeit.

All this raises another question. Why do we say Kaddish on the day of the Yartzeit at the end of the 12 months of mourning? Is it not paradoxical!? Having concluded the recitation of Kaddish at the close of 11 months (for the positive reasons explained above) why recite Kaddish again on the Yartzeit?

One might suggest that the Kaddish at the close of 12 months is similar to the Kaddish recited each year on the Yartzeit. The purpose of the yearly Kaddish is to effect the ascent of the soul from level to level and it is not connected to the subject of judgment.

The truth of the matter is that even though the first Yartzeit has similarities to future Yartzeits it also has a connection to the first year of mourning; it represents the concluding period of the first year of mourning and as such it is related to the mourning period. Consequently, it may be a Yartzeit but it is also part of the 12 months. Which brings us back to the question, why say Kaddish at the end of 12 months, when we just stopped the Kaddish at the end of 11 months?

Let us first consider another aspect.