Is Love Stronger Than Death?

April 6 2017

In his laudatory review of Hillel Halkin’s After One-Hundred-and-Twenty: Reflecting on Death, Mourning, and the Afterlife in the Jewish Tradition, Abraham Socher writes:

As Halkin mentions near the outset of this deeply personal book, he has already passed the “threescore and ten” years promised in Psalms, and neither he, nor any of us, expect to live the extra half-century granted to Moses. That, after all, is the point of saying “ad meah v’esrim” (until one-hundred-and-twenty), the traditional phrase upon which his book’s title plays. But this is not a death-haunted book, or, if it is, it is not, despite a lifelong hypochondria, really the prospect of his own extinction that haunts Halkin.

He writes movingly of his parents’ passing, especially his mother’s, and of his ambivalence about reciting the mourner’s kaddish for them. And he admits frankly that he cannot imagine surviving the loss of a child, though, of course, having lived in Israel for the past five decades, he has seen that happen far too often.

[Although] he is firm in his disbelief, . . . it is Halkin’s abiding love for his wife that spurs him toward a belief in some kind of immortality. “How can a love like ours simply disappear?” he asks her, “Doesn’t it have to go on existing somewhere?” Despite his biblical this-worldliness, the experience of love has given Halkin an intimation of eternity.

Welcome to Mosaic

Register now to get two more stories free

Register Now

Already a subscriber? Sign in now

Read more at Jewish Review of Books

More about: Afterlife, Death, Judaism, Kaddish, Love, Mourning, Religion & Holidays

The Logic of Iran’s Global Terror Strategy

During the past few weeks, the Islamic Republic has brutally tried to crush mass demonstrations throughout its borders. In an in-depth study of Tehran’s strategies and tactics, Yossi Kuperwasser argues that such domestic repression is part of the same comprehensive strategy that includes its support for militias, guerrillas, and terrorist groups in the Middle East and further afield, as well as its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Each of these endeavors, writes Kuperwasser, serves the ayatollahs’ “aims of spreading Islam and reducing the influence of Western states.” The tactics vary:

Sign up to read more

You've read all your free articles for this month

Register

Sign up now for unlimited access to the best in Jewish thought, culture, and politics

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Iran, Latin America, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy