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Kaddish

By Leon Wieseltier
$6.95
Book Details
  • Author: Leon Wieseltier
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • Published: 2000-02-08
  • Edition: 1
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