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Making Loss Matter : Creating Meaning in Difficult Times Paperback – August 1, 2000


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Making Loss Matter : Creating Meaning in Difficult Times + Why Faith Matters + Healer of Shattered Hearts
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Trade (August 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1573228206
  • ISBN-13: 978-1573228206
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #458,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Early in his book, Wolpe, rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, shares a sobering thought: "Losses are the stuff of life. They will not miss you, they will not steer around those whom you love." The author's search for meaningful ways to deal with loss came soon after his wife, Ellie, was diagnosed with cancer. He admits that his "life was suddenly full of shadows," and he feared that his vibrant wife might die. As Wolpe struggles with his fear of loss and with the daily crises brought by Ellie's illness, he realizes that facing loss requires courage and love. Although he had been writing this book before his wife's illness, her cancer gave him a new perspective on facing suffering. Wolpe uses personal anecdotes, ancient stories of suffering and joy, the sagacious parables of rabbis and the wisdom of poets and philosophers to explore the nature of loss and the ways we can respond meaningfully to it. He notes that throughout life we experience a variety of losses, some trivial and others grave, such as the loss of home, dreams, self, faith, love and life. On the loss of dreams, for instance, Wolpe writes, "Dreams can ennoble us even when they fail.... Each dream can be a step on the ladder we climb in order to become the person we were meant to be." In order for loss to be meaningful, he contends, we must not run from it but incorporate its scars deeply in our lives, face it with faith and courage and celebrate the new identities that we derive from our experience. Although Wolpe really offers no new ideas about coping with loss, his easy manner and eloquent storytelling will help readers suffering from loss feel as if they have found a companion on their journeys. (Sept.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Rabbi Wolpe weaves together a finely constructed tapestry of biblical stories, Western and Eastern philosophy and literature, and incidents from his own life to explain how to deal with the pain of personal loss, whether of love, life, home, faith, or dreams. Rabbi Harold Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People could be considered the predecessor of Wolfe's discussion of personal loss and ways to turn it into strength and hope. Both rabbis write in a clear, straightforward style, accessible to Jewish and non-Jewish readers alike. However, by stressing his own life and losses, Wolfe gives depth and meaning to concepts that might otherwise remain abstract and theoretical. Wolpe's strength is in showing how a caring and direct approach to dealing with losses can reenergize the human spirit and give us courage to continue living life to the fullest. Strongly recommended for general religion/spiritual collections in most libraries.AOlga B. Wise, Compaq Computers Inc., Austin, TX
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is a beautiful book filled with wisdom and words that can set us on the path to healing.
L. Sawyer
It's not a book to read in one sitting - read a couple chapters at a time... thinking it over... and read a couple more chapters.
George
The book has since been passed to similar friends and acquaintances dealing with death and loss.
Mel M

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By William Caldwell on February 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
First I checked it out of the library serendipitously; then I had to own it and purchased my own copy from Amazon. Within a week I had referred it to a number of people whose lives it touched. There is no one who doesn't need this book. It is 21st century wisdom with the depth of ancient sages and vast scope of religous tradition behind it. Wolpe understands life. He crafts sentences that go to the core of the matter of loss and life and difficulty and human nature. Though I am not Jewish, I relished getting out my Old Testament and re-reading the stories of Abraham, Jacob, Job and others after reading Making Loss Matter. As one who has an interest in things spiritual and God-based all her life, I find this book among the best I have ever read and cannot recommend it highly enough--to ANYONE who is human.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful By E. Ihlenfeld on December 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I made two assumptions about this book before reading it: a) that it would be a book about spirituality (since a Rabbi wrote it) and b) that it would be about death and mourning. While there is certainly allusion to both of these, I found it much more compelling as a work of psychology, an archaeology of "loss" as an existential proposition rather than some vacuous "how to cope" cheer. For those that eschew the popular self-help canon, this book is a compelling resource as it grounds its propositions in the wisdom of historical, secular literary figures as well the usual roll call from the Torah and Talmud, and tempers the admixture with sensitivity and common sense. The book's uplifting quality results not just from the reiteration of the sages, but from its baseline humanity, the degree to which it addresses the decent human being coming to terms with mediocrity, foolishness, defects of character, and/or miscarried hopes that drain the optimism from the average life. The reconciliation it ultimately espouses, the "making loss matter" aspect, reinvests the individual with the perspective necessary to manage not just the "big deaths," but the more subtle demises, the death-by-papercut drainage of our happiness, individuality, and sense of connection to something greater than ourselves.
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By George W. Fisk on July 28, 2000
Format: Hardcover
From the viewpoint of forty years as a liberal Christian minister, reading Rabbi David Wolpe's MAKNG LOSS MATTER was a pleasant journey. Generally speaking, Christians believe in a future existence beyond death, while Jews do not. Wolpe leaves a door open when he writes, "The soft insistent voice of something more whispers in our ear. Can this be all?" Wolpe's open heart and lucid prose touched me time and time again. I have underlined many of his thoughs such as, "I am a rabbi because there is in me, as there is in you, a child, a child that knows that somewhere we not alone, that this world is bathed in miracles, and that for every pain there is beauty, for every loss there is love, and for every waste there is wonder." All members of the human race can be lifted by his beautiful lines such as, "Refusing to succumb to despair is the greatest act of faith. We may despair for a moment. Darkness seems ascendant. We cry out. But stirring is the certainty that the pain of a particuar loss is a sign of having loved. Where the capacity to love has been, it can be again." Not just for Jews, his book speaks to all who suffer or rejoice.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Andrea Adelman on November 27, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful, realistic book on how to deal with loss in a meaningful way, acknowleding that faith may come and go...and that is OK. Rabbi Wolpe shares his innermost thoughts and fears, drawing upon his own life and it's losses. Having lost my beloved 12 year old son to brain cancer 4 years ago, this book will be a welcome addition to my ever growing library of pieces of literature that will somehow be there to help me make sense of my life---and most importantly, my son's life. Thank you, Rabbi Wolpe.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer on May 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
When the adoption of two foster children fell through and they left our home, I was heartbroken. I said kaddish even though the children were still alive. I sat shiva by myself. Family and friends were sad with us but most found it too uncomfortable to discuss. My rabbi suggested that I read this book, and I'm so glad I did. Rabbi Wolpe soothed my broken heart and helped me to accept what I could not control. His words gave me the courage to have faith in G-d again, because he made me see that I had an important role in the children's lives.
We suffer losses more often than we like to admit. Rabbi Wolpe enables us to embrace them and use them to make ours and others lives better.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Helen F. Stanbro on January 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Like Jacob, who wrestled with G_d and refused to let Him go until he extracted a blessing from Him, and thus earned the name "Israel" (he who struggles strongly with G_d), David Wolpe tackles one of the oldest and hardest questions, "Does my suffering matter or is it just meaningless chance?" Poignantly, after throwing away his first attempts which were drawn from his extensive scholarship and erudition, and making the scary decision to write instead from his own heart, he found out that his young wife, a new mother, has cancer. No easy answers here, but a lot of deep thought and honest feelings, plus a way of at least approaching life's inevitable losses with real courage born not of bravado and forced stoicism, but of a struggling faith that will not let go until it has received a blessing---the gift of knowing that the struggle is not in vain.
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