13) Death

A lot of Jewish traditions correspond with precepts of ancient Egypt. One exemple is the interdiction to mutilate corpses after death. This is based on the concept of resurection. Concept motivating the construction of gigantic pyramids in order to protect the corporal integrity of diceased personalities.

Although the bible says that ashes go back to ashes and that one does not has to mummify corpses, Joseph was mummified and brought back to the holy land after the exodus.

And when we think it over, preservation of corpses and writing are able to give a kind of resurection. Not the one of the simple minded people showing corpses coming out of their tombs, but the preservation of the memory of great men by the collective memory of people. A memory accentuated by the Egyptians by scripture and mumification. After thousands of years we still can learn about the life and suffering of deaths in ancient Egypt just by studying their remains with modern diagnostic tools and by reading their hyeroglyphs. One of the worse curses used in jewish tradition is the loss of memory : ” Yemar Chemoy ! ” (that his name should be erased !)

Finaly, the common ancestor of all Jews, Abraham, resurects every generation through the collective memory of all Jews. His life looks like a metaphor of every single event of Jewish history : He can’t stay at one place, he destroys the establishment of idols, he has to hide the true identity of his wife in order to protect her from the pharao. He orders the institution of systematic circumsision. He sacrifies a goat instead of sacrifying his son. This kind of character can be found back in a lot of Jewish characters.

It is important to understand that one is a small link in the long chain of generations.

The link appears only for a small amount of time, but the chain is eternal. Or just as the Arabs say : the drop of water passes by, but the river remains. The flower blossoms, but the tree remains. Individuals go by, but a people remains.

Today many people see their own individuality as an independent entity, and their death as the end of everything. This justifies the research of the accomplishment of all desires and pleasures because that’s all life brings. This attitude can cause a lot of suffering because short pleasures are followed by a growing emptiness. This emptiness is more and more difficult to fill. One will try to fill this emptiness with alcohol, drugs, violence, greed,… nothing will fill that emptiness.


But if one puts his life in the perspective of his family, his people (his genetic patrimonium), life does not stop with death, but continues in the blossoming of one’s family and one’s genetic patrimonium. Here resides the importance of the feeling of belonging to a group, a family, the importance of the feeling of love.


Mourning rituals are favoring this feeling of belonging, and the week (” chiva ” = seven) where mourners are forced to stay put at home favorising the visits of friends and family are great help to pass through the loss of a beloved one.



The first goal of every living soul is the preservation of one’s genetic patrimonium. One observes that the growth of a living individual in competition with other growing individuals is similar to the dynamic of enzymes. An exponential growth untill a plateau is reached, dependent of the competition parameters, followed by a regression when substrate of enzymatic activity is lacking. And here the most adapted will survive. A simple colony of bacteriae will die when substrate is lacking. But if they learn to preserve themselves against that absence and they succeed in transmitting this adaptation to the next generation, their survival is guaranteed. One observes this in resistance of bacteria against antibiotics. One observes this in the ant and bee colonies. Are they obeing to religious precepts ?

If a talking and writing bee would have codified all the instincts pushing bees to nourrish the queen, to defend the colony and to fly from flower to flower, one could have called it Moses…


Just as the concept of imaginary figures is necessary to solve complicated mathematical theorems, or is necessary in virtual memory for computers, the virtual reality of god helps us to resolve problems of authority and ethics in order to transmit adaptation for survival from one generation to the other.

As long as this religious principle is used for it’s original purpose, and keep people happy, there is no harm. But if those religious principles are interpreted without common sense and virtual reality becomes more important than reality, then life becomes unbearable. At that moment religion becomes just an apology to avoid taking responsabilities and to declare that everything is the will of god. And then everything is possible, suicidal terrorism, autodafés, inquisition, burning of people, etc…

One can compare a nice future with ” the moon ” and religion with the ” finger ” in the famous sentence of Mao Tse Tung : ” Point the moon with your finger and simple minded people will only see your finger… “


Actually we invent continuously new virtual gods to give us authority in front of our children : Santa Claus, ‘Hannouka man, the tooth fairy, the mouse of the little lost tooth, the prophet Elie,….And our children still keep asking us for more because children are able to override their pulsions and to please their parents thanks to those virtual authorities and finally find happyness in receiving an award.

What a sad day it is when a child discovers that the tooth fairy was only it’s mamy changing it’s little milk tooth for a little present…

It’s a paradox that death is the only thing that enables life to go on. A living individual is unable to adapt continuously to the changing of his environment. If this individual would have tryed, he would be destroyed by cosmic rays, viral infections, intoxications and so on, just a few examples of aggression of the individual genetical memory. But as soon as this genetical memory is scattered in a population, genetic memory can recombine thanks to sexual renewal of every generation, which doesn’t only save genetic information, but enriches it for the next generation. Lacking of this mecanism is the main argument against cloning without sexual recombination.






Hello ma chère Kitty

Je t’envoie ce pli

Depuis la caserne

A l’ombre gris terne

D’une grille dans la nuit


Le convoi de la mort

Nous attend dehors

Départ pour Treblinka

Au revoir ma chère Sarah

Tes cheveux sont si doux


Jewish Blues

Moishele dors

Jewish Blues

Demain quel sera ton sort ?

Dors Moishele dors


Le tonnerre du bogie

Sur l’acier de la Ruhr

Les cris du petit Yummi

Rendez-moi ma Mamy

J’ai peur dans la nuit


Le convoi de la mort

Arrive dans le noir

En gare de Treblinka

Au revoir ma chère Sarah

Tes cheveux sont si doux


Jewish Blues

Moishele dors…












Published in: on 24/10/2006 at 08:33  Leave a Comment  

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