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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375703624, Paperback)Leon Wieseltier's Kaddish is a completely new kind of book. It is not quite philosophy, autobiography, history, or Midrash, but it blends all of these genres into a narrative of Wieseltier's grief during the year following his father's death. Wieseltier, the literary editor of The New Republic, is a mostly unobservant Jew whose grief compelled him to observe his religion's rituals of mourning, daily attending synagogue to recite the Kaddish (the traditional Jewish prayers of mourning). He also delved deeply into a vast range of texts describing the history and spiritual significance of these prayers. And he wrote incessantly, describing with force and clarity the process of bringing his mind and heart to bear on the grief that consumed him. Perhaps the best way of describing this moving, illuminating, hopeful, awe-filled book is to quote a stray line from the first page of the book's first chapter: "Out of tears, thoughts." --Michael Joseph Gross
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:00:05 -0400)
When Leon Wieseltier's father died in March 1996, he began to observe the rituals of the traditional year of mourning, going daily to the synagogue to recite the kaddish. Between his prayers and his everyday responsibilities, he sought out ancient, medieval, and modern Jewish texts in pursuit of the kaddish's history and meaning. And every day he studied, translated, and wrote his own reflections on the obscure texts that he found, punctuating his journal with stories about life in his synagogue and about his family's progress through grief. In reflecting upon the fate of his father and of his people, he wrestles with problems of loss and faith, the meaning of tradition, freedom and determinism, and the perplexity of rational religion.
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