Comments [חדש]
David   שבת, 24/06/2006 שעה 6:53
A related topic which I think is far more important is planning the way you die. Too many people (especially in poor and troubled societies like ours in comparison to first world countries) pass away in an unnecessarily prolonged and unpleasant manner. Sadly, in Israeli society there is no open and honest discussion of extreme pain relief methods (for instance, using addictive drugs), physical and social support for suicide under certain conditions, euthanasia and the like. It seems to me that it is exactly people like you (secular, educated, opinionated, involved in politics to some extent, related to the media, publishing under various platforms, etc.) who should try to get such a discussion going.

As for the article itself:

* ''הנצחה'' ו -''המוות הוא עניין סופי למדי''
No disrespect intended, but the concept of leaving an immortal legacy by means of designing the right kind of tomb seems a bit far fetched. For one, graves do not last forever. How many 500 years old graves are there? 1000 years old? (It would be a curious exercise to plot the percentage of surviving graves as a function of time, perhaps in more stable regions than our own, and get an empirical idea of the grave “life time”, so to speak). Second, what in fact is the importance of having your gravestone around for, say, 300 years or so? Third, even if a tomb stands undisturbed it is hardly an indication that the man who owned the remains under it is remembered. Ask yourself how many intact graves of members of your extended family are there in Israel, how many do you visit (say - yearly), how much you know about the deceased, etc. Also, how much do you know about members of your family that died a natural death in the 19th century? 18th century? The vast majority of people are mostly forgotten (or forgotten by most) shortly after their demise, and definitely more so as time goes by. Moreover, the individuals who are remembered for extended periods of time have often lead an extraordinary life prior to their demise rather than just made arrangements for a well planned funeral. I guess my question is how does a man who is generally not superstitious
(''המוות הוא עניין סופי למדי'')
gets to believe in a concept such as
“הנצחה”?

* ''מדוע לא לקבוע את סדרי לווייתך כבר בחייך ולמנוע בכך סדרים שלא היו לטעמך לו הייתה מתבקש לשקול אותם עוד בהיותך בחיים? יש בכך היגיון...''
It seems to me that for most individuals a funeral is one of the last opportunities to send a message to your living friends and relatives (who will most likely disregard it as they did when the you were alive, but it didn’t stop you then either). I would argue that the logic of planning a funeral starts with the little preacher inside you.
As for
“הנצחה”
or “a symbolic attempt to control death (?!)” –
I attribute them to different degrees of vanity and superstition rather than to good reasoning. Again, no disrespect intended.

* ''ובכל זאת, אם אפשר הייתי רוצה שיהיה זה אתר מוריק ומדושא''
As to the proper way to dispose of ones remains – here there is plenty of logic to be applied. There are environmental considerations regarding land and energy conservation, there are the feelings of surviving relatives to consider etc. A statement of sorts could be made (even if not remembered thereafter) by arranging the return of dust to dust in a fashion compatible with your style of living. It could be argued that a burial in a lush garden is perhaps not the most polite and considerate act as far as the needs of future generations are concerned.
At least outside of Alaska.
I don't want this last point to appear as a definite statement. It is just mentioned as another side in the discussion.

Oh, and welcome back.
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Comments [חדש]
אורי קציר   שבת, 24/06/2006 שעה 11:02
בתגובה לDavid
אתר אישי
אני מסכים עימך לגמרי בסוגיית הזמן הרלוונטי לקיומו של קבר. אנו מודעים כיום לכל היותר למה שהתרחש שלושה דורות לפנינו ובוודאי שאיננו הולכים לבקר את קבריהם של אבות קדומים יותר. אין לי אשליות: בהנחה, הלא-בלתי-סבירה, שיצירתי לא תגיע לרמתם של הומרוס, שייקספיר והוגו, הרי שיתכן בהחלט שבעוד שלושה דורות איש לא יזכור היכן נטמנה גופתי. במובן זה, די ברור לי שיש צדק בדבריך: הנצחה אינה בבחינת צריבה אפקטיבית של הזיכרון לעולמי עד כי אם לדורות שידעו את הנפטר בשלב כזה או אחר של חייו.

כל אדם רוצה להותיר אחריו משהו, דוד. מעין טביעת אצבע קטנטנה בזיכרון חבריו וקרוביו. ככל שניתן לשלוט בכך, אינני רואה מניעה לעשות כן. כפי שכבר הזכרתי, בודדים בלבד יכולים להיצרב באמצעות יצירה או מעשה שמשפיע על מיליונים. הרוב המוחלט היה רוצה להיזכר בזכות רמה מסוימת של ביטוי אישי שלא הייתה ניתנת לו אלמלא הותיר אחריו הנחיות מפורשות. זהו סוג של צוואה רוחנית: הוא אינו קשור בהכרח לחלוקת הרכוש אבל מנסה להתוות את הדימוי הסופי של הנפטר בעיני העתיד לאחר שהזיכרון מחייו יתעמעם משהו. מאחר ותמונות, אלבומים ושאר פריטי זיכרון דרכם להנציח דברים שלא תמיד יש עליהם שליטה, הרי שתכנון טקס הקבורה הוא אולי האלמנט היחיד בו הנפטר יכול להשפיע.
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Comments [חדש]
David   שבת, 24/06/2006 שעה 20:40
בתגובה לאורי קציר
Drawing on my past experience I think that people are remembered (for as long as they are) –only- by how they lived and not at all by how they were buried, although the two are correlated. The correlation makes this a bit tricky because we do not have the example of someone whose burial rights sharply contradicted his philosophy or way of life. Nevertheless, here are three arguments that would seem to diminish the role of a funeral in the establishing or influencing memory.

First, there are plenty of examples of people who did not give their funeral any consideration whatsoever but are still very well remembered for a few generations.

Second, on the occasions when people who had an unusual funeral do come up in conversation (or in memory), especially a while after their demise, it is always in the context of something they did or said while they were still animated. Of those who remember Neomi Shemer – how many know the details of her funeral? How do these details affect the manner in which she is remembered by those who do know? I would say “a few” and “none at all”.

Third (and perhaps most compelling) - there is no visible difference in the manner, time or quality of remembrance between those who made elaborate plans for an original funeral, those who earned the dubious honor of a military funeral, those who were cremated, those who were buried in a Kibutz in a ceremony conducted by an elderly accordionist and those who left the details to Hevra Kadisha to worry about.

The memory of the particulars of the funeral seems to have a much shorter life span than even the memory of the person. Remaining friends and relatives get accustomed to the environment of the grave and the inscription on the tombstone. They do not tend ponder over them year after year after year. That is why I feel that a funeral is one of those last opportunities to preach a message (that nobody will heed to) which is all good fun.

Tying burial rights to legacy seems a bit excessive. At that point it is usually too late for the deceased to influence his legacy because what you call “the final image” fades very fast from memory. The real final image of a person is set by the photos and words and deeds – by his life’s work so to speak - and that is precisely what one should concentrate on if one’s legacy is of consequence.

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