Jewish Book of the Dead

Was there a Jewish “Book of the Dead”?

I understand that the (then) Union of American Hebrew Congregations (in particular the Department of Jewish Family Concerns) wass beginning to work on tools (programs, etc.) to help baby-boomers getting older.

I think, it’s time to start thinking about how we die.

I’m convinced that there are texts buried in Psalms (perhaps elsewhere) that are "passage way" readings. What I mean by this is that they can be (perhaps were by our ancestors) used to help the dying individual approach the moment of death. I am aware of many books written in the past ten years for the survivors of death.


I want a text/book (or perhaps a text-book) that will help me (perhaps let’s start with my 89 year old mother) approach and handle my own death.

So, what’s one of these texts?

I realized one evening after weeks of visiting a particular gentleman in the hospital that he was not going to get out of there vertical. I found I was able to comfort/calm him a bit by softly singing. Two Carlebach melodies came to mind. Two different Psalms: Esa Einai and Pitchu Li. Esa Einai made me feel like I (he) was going to get out, with some help.

Pitchu Li, which until then I had always sung very up-beat. But, that evening, soft and quiet, the words came out beseechingly. I had an "ah hah!" moment.

I’ve mentioned this idea to a number of people involved in Jewish "healing" who listen politely. I’ve mentioned it as a possible rabbinic thesis to rabbinic students who contact me at Nisus for tech support. Nobody’s picked up on the idea.

Can we do a reading of Psalms that searches for "gates" looking for a way of interpreting these gates not as physical gates to a city, but spiritual passageways to another "realm"?