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Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew

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Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

What Kaddish Means

Beyond language, Kaddish is more than the sum of its words. First and foremost, it is an experience of the senses. Like music, there is no understanding Kaddish without hearing and feeling it and letting go of the words.

One of the great ironies of Kaddish is that it was written in a vernacular language so that it could be understood and led by scholars and laborers alike. Today, of course, Aramaic is far more obscure than Hebrew.

That the recitation of words long dead can remain a source of consolation testifies to the fact that Kaddish transcends language. Its comforts are rooted in preverbal ways of knowing. Like a mother's heartbeat against the infant ear, Kaddish makes an elemental sound — natural as rain on a wooden roof and as human as a lullaby.

In addition to being a profession of faith and a doxology, it is also mantra and meditation. In rhythmic repetition of syllables and sounds, the list of praises (glorified, celebrated, lauded) builds into a kind of incantation:

Yit-ba-rach v'yish-ta-bach

v'yit-pa-ar v'yit-ro-mam v'yit-na-sei

v'yit-ha-dar v'yit-a-leh v'yit-ha-lal

sh'mei d'ku-d'sha b'rich hu

l'ei-lah min kol bir-cha-ta v'shi-ra-ta

tush-b'cha-ta v'neh-cheh-ma-ta

da-a-mi-ran b'al-ma, v'im-ru amen

On some level, the words are pretext. The real meaning, the subtext, is embedded in the repetition of yit and ah, in consonants and vowels. Kaddish whispers Amen, Amen like a parent who murmurs Hush, hush.

Kaddish is an essentially aural experience — perhaps another reason the rabbis were so insistent it be recited within a minyan. Only with a collective voice is there enough energy to lift up the lonely mourner, the angry mourner, the mourner too hurt to even say Amen. The minyan chorus implicitly reassures the wounded soul, You are not alone.

Syllable by syllable, shoulder-to-shoulder, Kaddish is a sigh that affirms the core beliefs and dreams of the Jewish people: God is beyond us. Understanding is beyond us. Holiness and beauty are all around us, but beyond us, too. We have work to do. There is hope. Peace is possible.

Peace. Please. Peace.

Kaddish — Word by Word: Even though the words are secondary, they are not incidental. Kaddish is a love song to God, praising the Holy One in a myriad of ways. Although extolling God sounds as though it should be a joyful activity, the Hebrew word for worship, avodah, also means work, and perhaps no act of worship requires more effort than one that asks mourners to praise God.

The death of a loved one — especially an untimely death — confronts even the most faithful Jew with doubt. The bereaved mother of a five-year-old child is supposed to stand and magnify and sanctify alongside a seventy-year-old son who has lost a ninety-year-old mother.

Exalted and hallowed be God's greatness

In this world of Your creation.

In the mouth of the mourner, these words affirm that even death is part of God's creation. Kaddish asks Jews to hallow death — to take what might appear random, meaningless, and cruel, and speak of it as part of the sacred whole. This is an enormous challenge — perhaps even a lifelong struggle. Many view it as a goal.

Kaddish also pronounces acceptance of God's

Synopsis:

What Kaddish Means

Beyond language, Kaddish is more than the sum of its words. First and foremost, it is an experience of the senses. Like music, there is no understanding Kaddish without hearing and feeling it and letting go of the words.

One of the great ironies of Kaddish is that it was written in a vernacular language so that it could be understood and led by scholars and laborers alike. Today, of course, Aramaic is far more obscure than Hebrew.

That the recitation of words long dead can remain a source of consolation testifies to the fact that Kaddish transcends language. Its comforts are rooted in preverbal ways of knowing. Like a mother's heartbeat against the infant ear, Kaddish makes an elemental sound — natural as rain on a wooden roof and as human as a lullaby.

In addition to being a profession of faith and a doxology, it is also mantra and meditation. In rhythmic repetition of syllables and sounds, the list of praises (glorified, celebrated, lau

Synopsis:

Anita Diamant's knowledge, sensitivity, and clarity have made her one of the most respected writers of guides to Jewish life. In Saying Kaddish, she shows how to make Judaism's time-honored rituals into personal, meaningful sources of comfort. Diamant guides the reader through Jewish practices that attend the end of life, from the sickroom to the funeral to the week, month, and year that follow. There are chapters describing the traditional Jewish funeral and the customs of Shiva, the first week after death when mourners are comforted and cared for by community, friends, and family. She also explains the protected status of Jewish mourners, who are exempt from responsibilities of social, business, and religious life during Shloshim, the first thirty days. And she provides detailed instructions for the rituals of Yizkor and Yahrzeit, as well as chapters about caring for grieving children, mourning the death of a child, neonatal loss, suicide, and the death of non-Jewish loved ones.

About the Author

\Anita Diamant's books include Choosing a Jewish Life, The New Jewish Wedding, Living a Jewish Life, and The Red Tent, a novel. She lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805212181
Subtitle:
How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Author:
Diamant, Anita
Author:
Anita Diamant
Subject:
Religion : Judaism - Rituals & Practice
Subject:
Family & Relationships : Death, Grief, Bereavement
Subject:
Self-Help : Death, Grief, Bereavement
Subject:
Funeral rites and ceremonies
Subject:
Liturgy
Subject:
Death, Grief, Bereavement
Subject:
Judaism - Beliefs Practices Rituals
Subject:
Judaism - Rituals & Practice
Subject:
Death
Subject:
Judaism
Subject:
Jewish mourning customs
Subject:
Judaism -- Liturgy.
Subject:
Judaism-Death
Subject:
Judaism-Observance and Holidays
Subject:
Judaism-Rituals and Practice
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
19990712
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
288

Related Subjects

Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » Grief
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
Religion » Judaism » Rituals and Practice

Saying Kaddish: How to Comfort the Dying, Bury the Dead, and Mourn as a Jew
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 288 pages Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group - English 9780805212181 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , What Kaddish Means

Beyond language, Kaddish is more than the sum of its words. First and foremost, it is an experience of the senses. Like music, there is no understanding Kaddish without hearing and feeling it and letting go of the words.

One of the great ironies of Kaddish is that it was written in a vernacular language so that it could be understood and led by scholars and laborers alike. Today, of course, Aramaic is far more obscure than Hebrew.

That the recitation of words long dead can remain a source of consolation testifies to the fact that Kaddish transcends language. Its comforts are rooted in preverbal ways of knowing. Like a mother's heartbeat against the infant ear, Kaddish makes an elemental sound — natural as rain on a wooden roof and as human as a lullaby.

In addition to being a profession of faith and a doxology, it is also mantra and meditation. In rhythmic repetition of syllables and sounds, the list of praises (glorified, celebrated, lau

"Synopsis" by , Anita Diamant's knowledge, sensitivity, and clarity have made her one of the most respected writers of guides to Jewish life. In Saying Kaddish, she shows how to make Judaism's time-honored rituals into personal, meaningful sources of comfort. Diamant guides the reader through Jewish practices that attend the end of life, from the sickroom to the funeral to the week, month, and year that follow. There are chapters describing the traditional Jewish funeral and the customs of Shiva, the first week after death when mourners are comforted and cared for by community, friends, and family. She also explains the protected status of Jewish mourners, who are exempt from responsibilities of social, business, and religious life during Shloshim, the first thirty days. And she provides detailed instructions for the rituals of Yizkor and Yahrzeit, as well as chapters about caring for grieving children, mourning the death of a child, neonatal loss, suicide, and the death of non-Jewish loved ones.
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