We may not know what happens on the ‘other side’ of death. Jewish teachings, however, do help us on ‘this side.’ We can prepare for death by letting go of attachments and grievances, and respond to death by learning to support the bereaved.
“This poem will be my witness,” says God to Moshe (Deut. 31:19). Here, God refers to a poem predicting future events: Israelites stray from God, find devastation, and return to a nurturing God. In what sense can a poem be a witness? Clearly, not in the way a person who experiences an event can be a witness. A poem is not a person, and not the subject of an experience. […]