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Kenneth Ellman Reviews Gesher Hachaim by Rabbi Tucazinsky

Kenneth Ellman Reviews Gesher Hachaim by Rabbi Tucazinsky
July 18, 2014, Kenneth Ellman, Box 18, Newton, New Jersey 07860
The Bridge of Life, Published in 1949 and 1960.

There are more books, articles, stories and dreams that attempt to explore and perhaps know what death is and what happens to you when you die than perhaps anything else. They are also related to how you die, the conduct of your death, your life before your death and your life afterward. It is not that death is confusing. It is that death as a very concept and experience causes every possible thought and insight and fear, terror and courage all at the same time. Here in this 157 page Gesher Hachaim, a human mind, that of Rabbi Tucazinsky of blessed memory, comes to terms with who and what we are in the sense of life and death. I have owned this book since before 1989 and given it to many in need.

It is not possible to present Rabbi Tucazinsky in this review, only to help you to see how this short book might aid your understanding and that you should read it. I as a reviewer can speak and write my own ideas but this work must be read for itself. Keep in mind that this is a Jewish Book, a book of Yiddishkeit scholarship and must be viewed in that light. If human experience of the Tanach/Old Testament makes you uncomfortable, this book may not be for you. If you find yourself pulled to the human experience of the Old Testament and the Talmud this book will encapsulate you.

As stated by the Rabbi Tucazinsky on Page 27 of the 1983 edition (English Translation):
“During those early months when man is hunched over with his head between his legs within his mother’s womb, his mouth closed
and his food all prepared and ingested through his navel … enjoying a sublime and enlightened life, were he to be mentally developed to the same degree as human beings outside the womb are, he would regard his mothers womb as the only world. He would think of the period of gestation as one of long duration… For him this short transition period would seem to be a “lifetime”. He could not imagine a world extending beyond the expanse of the womb. “

We see death all the time from our family and friends, to people we never met before to a vast literature where human beings try to understand the difference between life and death and why they are even alive, if they are alive and why they die, if they die. We also kill life and save life, including human life, in the same place and time on a continuous basis. The human body itself only exists because it continuously kills those things that wish to eat us. Our immune system is a killing machine par excellence as is our development of weapons to kill each other and just about everything else.

Consciousness we contemplate, may be different. Perhaps human Consciousness itself is in its very essence something that arose as a soul of understanding that exists between the world of here now, before and after. Can you separate Consciousness from life, death and what you are? We have many questions and the answers, even those that are fervently believed, are not so easy for some to accept or demonstrate. It appears that no one has ever come back from death and told us. Yes of course there are near death accounts where such individual experience is recounted and portrays a world only the dead normally see. Yet again many read such accounts and still do not see what the near death writer sees.

So we have quite a problem in understanding that which knowledge causes some to believe is beyond our senses while others believe is nothing more than what our senses tell us upon the observation of the dead. Who has observed and communicated with the consciousness of a dead man anymore than the consciousness of those not yet conceived? Who?? Yet, many will say or keep to themselves a very personal knowledge and experience that touched them by awakening and sensing that which haunts us though we may not normally speak of it to others. Some certainly believe that life has allowed them to know the unknowable. Unfortunately the nonsense of television, movies and fiction for profit by misguided and sensational portrayals, tend to take up more of the conversation of life and death that the extraordinary and vast literature of the human mind reaching out to understand.

We have in this book by Rabbi Tucazinsky of blessed memory, a short, clear and concise excursion in death and “Life Viewed as a Bridge Between the Past and Future”. I find his account and insight valuable, fully understandable and intertwined with a long history of Jewish writing spanning hundreds and thousands of years of human thought. We are fortunate to have his writings. It is regrettable he is long gone.
Kenneth Ellman,, Box 18, Newton, New Jersey 07860.