Seekers of Meaning 5/17/2024: Reb Simcha Raphael, author of “Musings With The Angel Of Death: Poems of Love, Life and Longing”

On this week’s episode of the Seekers of Meaning TV Show and Podcast, Reb Simcha Raphael, Ph.D., discusses his new book of poetry, Musings with the Angel of Death: Poems of Love, Life and Longing.

Intense and deeply personal, this compilation of poetry, grapples with the reality of death, loss, and finding meaning in the face of life’s finitude in contemporary times. For more than three decades, Simcha Paull Raphael has written scholarly books on death and the afterlife, including his groundbreaking study Jewish Views of the Afterlife. In this collection of thirty-six poems, Raphael invites us into the inner sanctum of his own intimate wrestling with death and loss. As Rabbi Jill Hammer writes in the Foreword: “Raphael has done the brave work of exposing his own emotional life, the inner workings of his drive to address mortality and immortality. In a sense, he has let us know the behind-the-scenes of his academic and spiritual work.”

These poems reflect and wrestle with a spectrum of topics: the gamut of Jewish death rituals (funeral & shiva, Kaddish & Yizkor); personal tributes to the author’s deceased parents; his journey of making meaning in the face of grief and loss; challenges of love and marriage; the vicissitudes of family life; and thoughtful poetic reflections on the state of the world today. As a book mirroring the universal journey of awakening to the reality of life’s finality and eternity, Musings with the Angel of Death speaks to the heart and soul.

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About the Guest

Rabbi Simcha Raphael
Rabbi Simcha Raphael

Reb Simcha Paull Raphael, Ph.D.

SIMCHA RAPHAEL, Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the DA’AT INSTITUTE. He has worked as a death awareness educator, bereavement counselor and hospice chaplain for over twenty-five years. Ordained as a Rabbinic Pastor by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, he received a doctorate in Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies, and has written extensively on the topics of death, bereavement and the afterlife

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