Jewish Journal

A Talk About Death

by Marlene Adler Marks

November 26, 1998 | 7:00 pm

Leon Wieseltier did not want to talk about death. I, of course, wanted to talk about nothing else.

"It's over for me," the tall, lanky, white-haired professorial-looking author told me of his new book, "Kaddish." "I did it already."

Well, not quite. "Kaddish" is a 588-page journal of the year Wieseltier spent mourning his father. Poignant, written-from-within grief, coated in a radiant love of Jewish learning that belies the author's anti-mysticism, this is a book that finds in a people's tragic history the spiritual foundation for our own shattered time.

"But I believe in God and you don't!" Wieseltier recalls a friend telling him, as a way of challenging what he calls his year of "soldierly discipline" with prayer and text. He answers, "I'm not praying and studying entirely for filial reasons. I am not only a son."

Tracker Pixel for Entry


We welcome your feedback.

Privacy Policy
Your information will not be shared or sold without your consent. Get all the details.

Terms of Service
JewishJournal.com has rules for its commenting community.Get all the details.

JewishJournal.com reserves the right to use your comment in our weekly print publication.