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Living a Life that Matters Paperback – August 20, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Drawing on his many years as a rabbi, he shares what he has learned at many death beds. Few people are concerned about dying. Those who have done good things in their lives are almost always at peace. Those who regret the timing of their deaths wish for a little more time, so that they might yet leave some marks of goodness behind them. From that perspective, he gently points out that we can achieve both the significance and the clear conscience that we crave by focusing our attention on have positive influences on others in supporting roles as family member, friend, and occasional helping hand to strangers. The move, It's a Wonderful Life, is used as an example. The Jimmy Stewart character doesn't realize how all the little things he did affected so many lives, which in turn affected so many other lives. We, too, tend to be blind to the potential influence we have.
The book has a kindness and gentleness that make its message welcome and warming. "I believe in you. I believe that you have the ability to do great things, things that will change the world for the better." I share that belief and am delighted that Rabbi Kushner has written this book.
In chapter one, the subject is the two voices of God. This essay considers the models of competition with others and our heart-felt desire to share compassion, and how the two often operate at odds with one another in young people.Read more ›
Like his readers, Kushner lives in a dual world: a world of commerce and competition, and a world where he desires to be a good person, and feels guilt when he isn't. How does a person integrate these two worlds? As in his other books, Kushner draws on biblical stories that illustrate the universal and timeless nature of this conflict. In Genesis, Jacob is a character at first wily and ambitious (he steals his brother's birthright, among other things) but also a character who has the famous wrestle with an angel. Kushner sees this image as being a perfect symbol of man's struggle with his dual nature. Throughout the book he returns to his struggle of duality, which he believes is inherant to human nature. We all desire to be good, while needing our competitive side to survive in this world. Kushner encourages that balance between the two is key to living a life that matters.
With that resolved, Kushner delves into why life has meaning in spite of our nature. He believes, as do many religious people, that every life has value to God, and even the smallest decisions we make can affect others' lives for the good. There is a nice sentiment to his spirituality, and he is gifted at handling broad topics with grace --he references sources as diverse as the Old Testement, the movie "Witness," and the Jeckyll and Hyde story to illustrate his points, and does it without seeming heavy handed or moralizing. Somehow religion makes sense when Kushner explains it -- even something as baffling as eating kosher makes perfect sense when he is done explaining it.
I've enjoyed all of Rabbi Kushner's books. This one is on par with the rest -- graceful, moving and impactful.
Harold S. Kushner has written a book that causes the reader to look deep within themselves and decide for themselves just what kind of person they truly want to be. Chapter eight was my favourite part of the book as it points out the influence we have on others. Each and every chapter reveals an important message to us so that we may do our part in making the world a better place and, by doing so, finding solice and peace within ourselves.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love the book. It's a deep subject that makes one think about life. The author writes in such a way that it is pleasant and a very easy read.Published 1 month ago by Joshua Moore
I've not ever highlighted so much text while reading a book. So much thoughtfulness. A wonderful read. Would highly recommend to all.Published 2 months ago by Joshua Wilson
This is an excellent book, worth reading for anyone. I looked it up and i has few bad reviews (which I was surprised) but I suspect these reviewers were looking for facts or... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Simon Mochon Cohen
Recommended by a friend. It changed my life. Looking forward to reading more books by Harold Kushner.Published 5 months ago by Cynthia Heiter