Death in Judaism

At the end of the Shabbat service Kaddish is led by any who are in mourning. It is a prayer asking for God to improve the world.
I was fascinated by the idea that in Judaism it is not someone’s birth date that is used to remember them, but their death date. This seems quite practical, as birth dates were often a bit fuzzy before the information age.

There is no heaven in Judaism. Not as Christians see it. This seems like a major disincentive. Not to mention that the threat of hell is a much more vivid concept to keep congregants in line. The phrase ‘the world to come’ is used, but it never seems to be particularly well defined what this means. I love that this religion leaves so much room for individual interpretation.

The Messiah will resurrect all those who have ever lived when he does get here, and perfect the world. This doctrine was apparently introduced in an effort to counter the attractive nature of heaven and the promise of resurrection in Christianity when it started to become popular.

The Mourner’s Kaddish at the end of the service is a clear reminder of our mortality. It also highlights one of the key reasons that humans gravitate to religion, the need to know that we are part of something greater, that we are not just a collection of atoms.

Published by theundercoverjewess

Starting my conversion to Judaism...

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