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.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of eBook: Saying Kaddish|
|Release Date: 08-07-2007|
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|Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
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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:
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
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 energ...