Wednesday, March 25, 2009

From Mourning To Community

As he mourns his 83-year-old father, who died last week in Jerusalem, Michael Medved provides a useful, moving primer on Jewish burial traditions:
[R]ather than asking specific mercy on the departed, or comfort for the bereaved, we respond to death by acknowledging God’s power, majesty and control of every aspect of our lives. To honor the memory of a loved one, mourners recite this declaration in morning, afternoon and evening prayers every day for the eleven months following burial. The challenge is that a prayer quorum (minyan) of ten adult Jewish males is required to say the kaddish, which means that in honoring a loved one who has died you must depend on, or return to, a religious community. In that way, the eleven months as a mourner has served for many disaffiliated or indifferent individuals as a path back to commitment or continuity.

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