(נכתב בתשובה לאורי קציר, 24/06/06 11:02)
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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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