Vintage, Paperback, 9780375703621, 608pp.
Publication Date: February 8, 2000
"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 but doubting son, recites the Jewish prayer of mourning at his father's grave, and then embarks on the traditional year of saying the kaddish daily.
Wieseltier's highly acclaimed Kaddish is the spiritual and thoughtful journal of one of America's most brilliant intellectuals. Driven to explore th origins of the kaddish, from the ancient legend of a wayeard ghost to a 17th-century Ukranian pogrom, he offers as well a mourner's response to the questions of fate, freedom, and faith stirred up in death's wake. Lyric, learned, and deeply moving, Kaddish is suffused with love: a son's embracing of the traditon bequethed to him by his father, a scholar's savoring of its beauty, and a writer's revealing it, proudly unadorned, to the reader.
"Extraordinary.... [Kaddish] is a fine book, no, more: It may well be destined to become an American Jewish classic." --Forward
"Read this extraordinary book and you will be both intellectually enriched and deeply moved.... [Wieseltier's] Kaddish is not only for his father; it is for all fathers for whom no kaddish has been said." --Elie Wiesel
"An extended meditation on life and death, faith and doubt, freedom and responsibility, modernity and tradition, fathers and sons." --The Washington Post Book World