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by Leon Wieseltier

When Leon Wieseltier's father died, he began the traditional year-long period of mourning, reciting three times a day the prayer known as the mourner's kaddish. Struck by its unexpected power and his lack of knowledge about it, Wieseltier began to study the origin of this ancient ritual. Kaddish records his journey of discovery.
Download Kaddish epub
ISBN: 0330372289
ISBN13: 978-0330372282
Category: Politics
Subcategory: Sociology
Author: Leon Wieseltier
Language: English
Publisher: Pan MacMillan; New Ed edition (May 5, 2000)
Pages: 608 pages
ePUB size: 1721 kb
FB2 size: 1662 kb
Rating: 4.6
Votes: 193
Other Formats: docx lit txt lrf

This book received a lot of publicity when it came out about 18 years ago. Now, I'm saying kaddish for my father, so I thought it would be a good time to read this book. I haven't finished reading it yet. He's saying kaddish for his father. OK. However, we never hear why their relationship was so fraught. We don't learn if his father faded away in old age or if he was suffering through a long illness. Parts of it are excellent summaries of rabbinic literature discussions about the mourner's kaddish and mourning customs in general. This is what I was looking for; however, it is not as well organized as a textbook, which would have enhanced it. In between these meaty sections are short sentences written to show off his facility with the English language, with solipsisms or tautologies. I will write again when I finish. (And I will look up those words to make sure that's what I mean.) I have the feeling an editor, after a certain point, decided to let the author just go on and on.
This book was both interesting and intensely moving. Despite the difference in my cultural background, Irish Catholic, and my shallow intellectual understanding of my own faith tradition in contrast to Mr Wieseltier's apparent deep immersion in his, I found this book a deeply resonating answer to the challenge of grieving for a dead father that you have fundamental emotional bonds to. Grief takes a long time, but to express your grief even briefly rapidly degenerates into maudlin sentimentality. Mr Wieseltier's solution of channeling his grief into a traditional Jewish ritual and the investigation of the evolution of that ritual over time seems to find the balance between honoring his father and his grief and achieving enough detachment most of the time to avoid diminishing the dignity of his grief and love for his father by lapsing into inarticulate emotional excess.
This book does not fit any easy classification and needs to be evaluated on its own basis. I have loved it, and found it very thoughful and satisfying, even though I do not belong to the same faith tradition as the author. I cannot read it all at once. It needs to be taken in small doses so that one can savor and muse about the implications of what he is saying. It is more of a devotional book---in a strange way---than a novel or a biography that has a plot. It is more circuitous in its writing, following thoughts until the thinker is satisfied. It is like sucking the marrow out of bones. His ability to use ancient source means that the conversation is not only with this author, but with centuries of thinking about the issues of prayer, grief, human and human/divine relationships. I would recommend that a Kindle owner get a sample. They may discover that they feel the need to read the whole book. That was my experience.
Very deep book. Three themes: a history of Kaddish as prayer Jews recite for the dead; an account of Wieseltier honoring his father's memory by participting in prayer ritual for a year, though he, Leon, is not religious; and a reflection on why we mourn. I read it during the course of a year after my own wife died, and found it very moving and very meaningful, very helpful in its own way. Not all people will react that way, but I often given it to friends who have lost someone and some do appreciate it. Superb book
Wasn't what I thought More like a study guide for a yeshiva class than for reading about the process and traditions
More than I ever thought I would want to know about the evolvement of this wonderful prayer. However, the consistent inquiry into its meaning by the author kept me entralled.
I read this book after my mother passed away last year at the advice of a friend. It was difficult reading and it took me several weeks to finish, but ultimately it was worthwhile. I would recommend the book only to someone with a solid Jewish educational background who has also suffered the loss of a parent or some other family member and is saying the kaddish prayer daily.
Very well researched investigation at the origins of the Kaddish with personal reflections mixed in. I highly recommend this for anyone saying Kaddish.