Mystery of the Kaddish: Its Profound Influence on Judaism

Mystery of the Kaddish: Its Profound Influence on Judaism


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781569803004
Publisher: Barricade Books, Incorporated
Publication date: 01/25/2007
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,274,001
Product dimensions: 5.85(w) x 8.49(h) x 0.95(d)

Table of Contents

Preface XI Introduction XV Prologue XVII
1 A First Appraisal 3
2 Forever and To All Eternity 22
3 Kaddish Melodies 31
4 The Eternal Prayer 35
5 Survival of the Kaddish Notwithstanding the Holocaust (Sho'ah) 42
6 A Study of Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdishev as a Chassidic Force 45
7 Chassidic Customs and Thoughts in Memorializing the Deceased 52
8 Ancillary Effects of the Kaddish 61
9 Kaddish and Women 71
10 Chassidism, Kaddish, and Kotzk 79
11 Prophets, Mysticism, and Kaddish 85
12 Yahrzeit and Yizkor: Christian Origins? 91
13 Judaism and the Idea of Death 98
14 The Psychological Dynamic to Death in Judaism 106
15 Did the Crusades Give Birth to the Kaddish for the Common Man vis-a-vis the Elite? 119
16 More on the Crusades and Kaddish 134
17 The Jew as a Non-Citizen and the Church Synod 137
18 The Church Synods 142
19 The Crusades-Suffering Creates Prayer 146
20 The Ghetto 150
21 Blood Libel and the Massacre of Jews 153
22 Black Death & Jewish "Confession" 159
23 The Expulsion from Spain 163
24 Kaddish and the Concept of Death 168
25 The Nature of Death 172 Afterword 189 Glossary 192 Notes 217

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Mystery of the Kaddish: Its Profound Influence on Judaism 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an extraordinary book that should be read by anyone who has ever used the Kaddish or is dealing with loss.  It will help you understand how the Jewish people rely on the Kaddish to strengthen their faith in the face of great trails.  It tells us how the Kaddish became an important prayer for all who suffer though it was initially reserved for only certain scholars.  The book is great for anyone who is a fan of the history of religion or fans of the history of Judaism as well as anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the Kaddish.  
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Mystery of the Kaddish is an enjoyable and informative book. a must read for all denominations of Judaism
Guest More than 1 year ago
Leon Charney is a man of amazing gifts. As a lawyer, he guided President Jimmy Carter through the Camp David negotiations, leading to peace between Egypt and Israel. As a television host every Sunday, he fascinates hundreds of thousands of Americans with his intimate knowledge of Middle Eastern affairs and his close relations with some of the world¿s great statesman. Additionally, he delights his audiences and congregations, Jewish or not, with his ability as a Cantor and his masterfully trained beautiful voice. Now he has published a new book called, ¿The Kaddish¿ about one of history¿s greatest prayers, which has played a vital role in the tragic fate of Jews. His vast knowledge of the subject is amazing. His style shows the highest literary skills and the passion he shows for his people and their God is overwhelming. I was deeply impressed! Hans Janitschek, President United Nations Society of Writers
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Da Vinci Code meets the Torah! Cheers to Charney and Mayzlish for weaving together such a readable spiritual and historical journey. Once I picked the book up, I could not put it down. I found myself learning so much from the Crusades to the Bible to the plight of Judaism in the Middle Ages up until the Holocaust. And it's all poetically woven together around this one prayer and unraveling the mystery around its creation and development- the Kaddish a prayer that apparently unifies Jewish people all around the world- beautiful in its utter simplicity and reverence to God! I should note from the outset that I am not Jewish (at least not practicing). My father was Jewish and my mother Jamaican, but my father never practiced Judaism nor did I growing up. Reading this book therefore became a personal joy because it unlocked so much about myself that I had no idea even existed. Although it is clear from this text that many Jewish people too are unfamiliar with this history. Charney and Mayzlish run around the world- from America to Europe to Israel- speaking with primary sources to unravel a truth, until now unknown. And more importantly, this book is just great reading no matter what your background- Jewish, Christian, Muslim or academic! I would have never known. Can't wait for the movie!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Leon Charney needs no introduction. Yet most people I have told about his voyage and research into the Mourner¿s Kaddish, reacted with amazement. ¿Leon is not a Talmudic scholar¿, they say, ¿How can he research such a topic?¿ The amazement, however, should be turned on its head. One should rather wonder, how is it that generation of Halachic scholars have not raised the question concerning the origin of the Mourner¿s Kaddish, and took it for granted that it is part of an eternal tradition. For Leon ¿eternal tradition¿ is equal to ¿fossilized¿ tradition. Leon, who is an expert in law, public policy making, community action, communication and, to top all this, in cantorial music, has been recently bereaved of his mother. Having to join the tradition of Kaddish, he could not do it but in his own special Jewish way. Questioning. Today we celebrate with him a milestone on the road of his answers. What is the mystery of the Kaddish all about? Where was the Mourner¿s Kaddish born? Why has it attracted such great attention? The Mourner¿s Kaddish is written in the Aramaic and is recited at the burial ceremony and from then on, for 11 months, a few times during each of the daily prayers. A word concerning the Kaddish is in order. As Charney tells us, the origin of the Aramaic text is in the Talmud. In its first part, the Kaddish invites the congregation to assert the sanctification of God¿s name in the world. Its second part, however, relegates the sanctified name to the domain of the transcendent - beyond all blessings and consolations. The prayer addresses human reality, the need to glorify the Lord, yet it seals all hope for meaningful understanding of and commonsense consolation for the human lot. As such, this prayer demands of every ordinary Jew to adhere to a high church of believers who would not concretize the attributes of the Lord, and thus accept birth and death in metaphysical equanimity - not to be confused moral neutrality. This is a great lesson Charney wishes to teach us! And the lesson is timely. One of the most embarrassing situations in Jewish secular life is the attending of a funeral in Israel, becoming a living witness to the struggle of the mourner with the Aramaic text. Poetry is turned into a dyslexic experience. Most secular Jews fail to pronounce, let alone understand the sublime message the text in conveying. Charney tell us this text is a sort of internal letter transmitted within the Jewish community, endorsed for all mourners one thousand years ago, handed over from generation to generation since the time of the Crusaders. Till that time of the Crusaders, the Kaddish had been recited following the death of distinguished scholars only. The massacres of Jews by the Crusaders and, later on, the extensive losses during the black plague, forced the Rabbis to address the sorrow and frustration of the ordinary person. They borrowed on Christian burial rituals, tells the book, adapted a traditional and highly meaningful Talmudic text, thus aiming to sustain a Jewish community in the face of disaster. We, descendents of the Holocaust generation, know all-too-well the destructive impact the Eclipse of God can have on traditional Jewish life. According to Charney, the introduction of the Mourner¿s Kaddish into Jewish tradition was a democratic move taken by rabbinical authority. It was a concession to popular psychology. For, as you may know, Jewish festivities waive mourning rituals, except the obligation to recite the Kaddish! This was the decree of the school of Rashi in the 12th century, one endorsed by all Jewish legal codes. How is it, then, that a popular ritual, introduced in the 12th century in Western Europe, was endorsed over a short period of time by the whole of the Jewish world? Here is the book¿s innovation within the field of the sociology of Jewish law. One of the greatest commentators on the Talmud, who lived in Germany in the 14th centur