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4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  140 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
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

Children have obligations to their parents: the Talmud says "one must honor him in life and one must honor him in death." Leon Wieseltier, a diligent
Paperback, 608 pages
Published February 8th 2000 by Vintage (first published September 14th 1998)
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Jan 02, 2012 Ron rated it really liked it
Leon Wieseltier is the Literary Editor of The New Republic, a magazine I have subscribed to for the past 4 years. His all-too-rare columns are marvelously written and give a profound mixture of love of Judaism and humanity. His story is one of a smart young, orthodox philosophy student who strayed away from his severe religiosity to become one of our foremost cultural critics.

You can take the boy out of Yeshiva, but you can't take the Yeshiva out of the boy. When Wieseltier's father died in 1996
Feb 25, 2017 Gabriela rated it really liked it
Fragmentul meu preferat (pentru ca explica o parte importanta, poate cea mai importanta, a dragostei mele pentru iudaism): "Kadisul pare a fi jucat un rol in dezvoltarea a ceea ce este probabil trasatura definitorie a iudaismului in exil: carisma stiintei de carte. Atunci cand evreii din Mainz faceau o diferenta intre carturari si alti membri ai comunitatii [in sensul ca pentru carturari poti spune kadisul chiar si in zi de sarbatoare, cand e interzis sa jelesti, n.n.] sau atunci cand traduceau ...more
Apr 03, 2015 Daniel rated it really liked it
Not quite what I was expecting. It's a personal as well a halachic (related to Jewish law) diary of the author's year of mourning for his father. (Actually thirteen months because it was a leap year.) He explores the origins and meaning of the "Mourner's Kaddish," providing a glimpse into several centuries of Jewish thought and debate.
Michael Lewyn
Jul 12, 2015 Michael Lewyn rated it really liked it
This book is a (seemingly not heavily edited) journal of the author's thoughts over the year he said Kaddish for his father, following the widespread custom of saying this prayer for nearly a year after a parent's death. He discusses lots of rabbinic literature about various issues related to the kaddish prayer, as well as bits of autobiography and epigrams between the more serious discussions. Undoubtedly, this book is a bit longer than it should be, but I liked it more by the end than I did fo ...more
Daniel Sevitt
Jan 10, 2015 Daniel Sevitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: auto-biography
I remember seeing this on my dad's bedside table a few years back. At the end of the shiva I looked for it to bring back home with me.

I was expecting more memoir and less esoteric review of the history of and responsa surrounding the mourners' kaddish, but it didn't matter.

Moving and learned, Wieseltier is terrific on the distinction between grief and mourning and the obligations a son has to his father. I was advised during the shiva to wait a few months before reading this to get the best out
Sep 05, 2008 Angela rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, religion, nonfiction
This was a wonderful book that goes in depth on the rabbinic commentary and exegesis of the mourner's prayer, the Kaddish. Much Talmudic speculation. At times the obsessive nit-picking of seemingly irrelevant and unimportant points of the law got a little tedious, but overall, this was a strong introduction to Talmudic midrash wrapped up in a secular Jew's ponderously intellectual year of mourning.
Jan 08, 2017 Jennifer rated it really liked it
A Jewish man sets out to fulfill his traditional duty to say the Kaddish prayer three times daily for his father for an entire year. At the same time, he also decides to study the history of the Kaddish and to write about this entire experience, and everything he learns, over the course of the year. What results, is an extraordinary document of faith, tradition, history, culture, and personal introspection, sprinkled here and there with humor.
Sep 28, 2010 Shirley rated it really liked it
I love this book. It's a dense and incredibly powerful story of one man's struggle to deal with his father's death and to honor his father by following a ritual that is powerful in it's practice. His exploration of the kaddish ritual provides him a venue to understand the power of the ritual throughout Jewish history and in his own life.
Maria Rossi
Feb 21, 2016 Maria Rossi rated it it was amazing
I ought this book years before reading it, knowing I ought to, wanting the knowledge inside, and being half a fraud of it because of the dire comments people made about its being "heavy," and "researchy." I unearthed it during my year of mourning and found it the best solace after the healing power of the minyan itself.
Aug 08, 2008 Ryan rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more. And it's not for the author's integrity, but it was truly complicated and extremely dense. I picked it up shortly after my own dad died, seeing it at Ollson's just as it came out. Perhaps another try is warranted and perhaps, too, I am in a different state of mind now for appreciating it theme.
Oct 17, 2008 Beverly rated it liked it
Recommends it for: agnostics
This is a good, honest book about faith. I haven't read many things I could describe that way. Don't read it if you are in mourning but do read it if you have god on your mind.
May 09, 2011 Samantha rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, nourishing scholarship. Moments of humor. A study of mourning in practice, also a study of living, carrying on. Study as a method of living. Wish I had read this book years ago.
Jul 10, 2009 Rebecca rated it it was amazing
First Edition
Dec 30, 2015 Danielle rated it liked it
This book was rather dense and at times, difficult to read. However, it is interspersed with brilliant and insightful quotes that made it worth the read.
Ruth rated it really liked it
Nov 09, 2010
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Apr 24, 2011
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O rated it it was amazing
Dec 22, 2011
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Gail rated it really liked it
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Leon Wieseltier is a American writer, critic, and magazine editor. Since 1983 he has been the literary editor of The New Republic.

Wieseltier was born in Brooklyn, New York and attended the Yeshivah of Flatbush, Columbia University, Oxford University, and Harvard University, and was a member of Harvard's Society of Fellows from 1979-1982.

Wieseltier has published several fictional and non-fictional
More about Leon Wieseltier...

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“Suferință, hrănește-mă!” 0 likes
“Vrea să muște din fructul amar, dar fără să-i guste amăreala. Să lucrezi în lume, dar să nu simți nici un fel de dragoste pentru lume.” 0 likes
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