Death is a time of life that holds meaning for the dying, their family and friends, their community—and us. ... more
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Death is a time of life that holds meaning for the dying, their family and friends, their community—and us.
“Most of Torah’s teaching is about how to live. But there is a special section within its wisdom that also speaks to us about how to die. Since we are all mortals, our lives fashioned somehow around the awareness that death is inevitably to come, this is one of the important lessons…. There is something profound to be learned about the way of dying, and it is best learned from the wisdom and stories of those who have gone before us.” —from the Foreword
Students of the Hasidic masters wrote down the stories of the last months, days, hours and moments of the lives of their rebbes. A compilation of their experiences, called The Book of Departure (Sefer haHistalkut), first published in Hebrew in 1930, brings together the rich end-of-life stories of forty-two holy men who died between 1760 and 1904, as well as their philosophical forebearer, Isaac Luria. Featuring new pastoral commentary in a unique facing-page format, this English presentation of heart-touching deathbed tales sheds light on Jewish traditions about death, the afterlife and how to care for people in their final days.
Rabbi Joel H Baron is a hospice chaplain at Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) Hospice Care in Boston.more
Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow is the director of Spiritual Care at Hebrew SeniorLife.more