Synopses & Reviews
An extraordinary spiritual journal: a record of the inner life of one of America's most brilliant intellectuals during a year of mourning. "Kaddish" is a work of history, philosophy, and interior autobiography, of moral force and emotional power.
Children have obligations to their parents: the Talmud says "one must honor him in life and one must honor him in death." Beside his father s grave, a diligent but doubting son begins the mourner s kaddish and realizes he needs to know more about the prayer issuing from his lips. So begins Leon Wieseltier s National Jewish Book Award winning autobiography, Kaddish, the spiritual journal of a man commanded by Jewish law to recite a prayer three times daily for a year and driven, by ardor of inquiry, to explore its origins. Here is one man s urgent exploration of Jewish liturgy and law, from the 10th-century legend of a wayward ghost to the speculations of medieval scholars on the grief of God to the perplexities of a modern rabbi in the Kovno ghetto. Here too is a mourner s unmannered response to the questions of fate, freedom, and faith stirred in death s wake. Lyric, learned, and deeply moving, Wieseltier s Kaddish is a narrative suffused with love: a son s embracing the tradition bequeathed to him by his father, a scholar s savoring they beauty he was taught to uncover, and a writer s revealing it, proudly, unadorned, to the reader.
Winner of the 1998 National Jewish Book Award
"An astonishing fusion of learning and psychic intensity; its poignance and lucidity should be an authentic benefit to readers, Jewish and gentile." The New York Times Book Review"
About the Author
Leon Wieseltier lives in Washington, D.C.