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When Bad Things Happen to Good People Mass Market Paperback


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (February 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380603926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380603923
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (376 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Rarely does a book come along that tackles a perennially difficult human issue with such clarity and intelligence. Harold Kushner, a Jewish rabbi facing his own child's fatal illness, deftly guides us through the inadequacies of the traditional answers to the problem of evil, then provides a uniquely practical and compassionate answer that has appealed to millions of readers across all religious creeds. Remarkable for its intensely relevant real-life examples and its fluid prose, this book cannot go unread by anyone who has ever been troubled by the question, "Why me?"

From Publishers Weekly

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, this book features Rabbi Kushner's perspective on how people can better deal with evil that enters their lives.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Harold S. Kushner is Rabbi Laureate of Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts, where he lives. His books include the huge bestseller When Bad Things Happen To Good People and When All You've Ever Wanted Isn't Enough.

Customer Reviews

If you find yourself asking, "How could there be a God when bad things happen to good people?" get this book ASAP!!
K. Trinque
Unless you have proof you cannot justify something as being real...but I still believe in God which is a whole 'nother argument, with supported scientific evidence.
John McAdam
This book helped widden my understanding of prayer, relationship to community, and how God and religion can play a crucial role in the healing process.
jesters2@msn.com

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

363 of 383 people found the following review helpful By J. Lizzi on July 7, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In a time when so many people are striving for an explanation of why their lives turn out a certain way, or why things (good or bad) happen to them, the expressions "it's all part of God's plan," "everything happens for the best," or "it just wasn't meant to be," and so on, have became a little tiresome. In "When Bad Things Happen to Good People," Rabbi Harold S. Kushner offers a refreshing point of view that differs from those who think everything occurs on earth because God wants it that way, and at the same time provides a surprising comfort in the fact that events actually can, and do, take place for no reason at all.
I read the original version of this book in the early 80's (several times since), and what struck me was that Rabbi Kushner was able to reconcile a common Judeo-Christian view of God and causality with a perspective of life that holds a place for randomness and happenstance. Yes! Things happen in life that God has nothing to do with, and there is a way to find peace in accepting this. For those who enjoy contemplating and discussing the purpose of life, faith, and good & bad, you MUST read this book . . . then set aside some more time for thought and conversation.
If you've ever experienced the untimely loss of a loved one, or been through any traumatizing life experience, get this book. It is personal, thought-provoking, well-written, and very easy to understand. I am certain you will find comfort.
If you're just simply interested in learing about God and the meaning of things in your life from a wonderful man and a great writer, get this book.
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140 of 152 people found the following review helpful By Chris Peters on December 26, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
When I faced incredible loss a few years ago, I was amazed at the insensitive words my so-called friends offered in their "compassion", words that cut me right to the bone of my soul. It seemed that my grief was a burden for many. I painfully watched many of my closest friends distance themselves from me and even resent me for the tragedy and emotion that I had no control over. I questioned my feelings, my thoughts, and even my faith.
This book is a comfort for all people who have been forced to swallow such stupid sentiments in their times of grief and loss. It is an exploration of how we comfort each other in such terrifying times, and the dumb mistakes we make. Most of these sentiments wax on about God, why He created a world in which such pain exists: Is this all part of a greater good, a higher order? Is God testing you, expanding your soul for your own good? Has He taken your loved ones to a better place? This book gets right to the heart of the matter, that people in fact say such things as disguised justification for their own lack of understanding. They say things in defense of God to keep their world in order and the senseless tragedy in your life out of theirs. For example, someone might tell you, "God gave this grief to you as a test, because He loved you so very much, and knew you would become a better person for it," (to which the author replies, "If only I had been a weaker person, my daughter would still be alive.")
And yet, author Harold Kushner weaves this with a deep exploration of God and how He helps us and loves us. This is no cheap excuse for shallow religion. The knowledge Kushner shares has obviously been earned through incredible personal pain.
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160 of 175 people found the following review helpful By K. Trinque on August 17, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I just finished reading this book by Rabbi Kushner. It was an easy book to read and understand. I recently experienced the loss of my beloved brother. He was 36 years old and a murder victim. I am a practicing Catholic and I never questioned God. However, I found myself wondering why this had to happen to us. My brother was just an innocent bystander. A victim of being at that wrong place at the wrong time. Rabbi Kushner's book opened my eyes. His book offered me comfort and let me understand my faith a little better.
I highly recommend this book to all who question God. If you find yourself asking, "How could there be a God when bad things happen to good people?" get this book ASAP!! Rabbi Kushner offers a logical and intelligent answer to this question. He makes sense. If you think you are not a religious person this book will change that.
I am passing this book onto my mother. I know this will bring her comfort.
Thank you Rabbi Kushner for this wonderful insightful book. It has helped me with my grieving!
GOD BLESS YOU!!
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122 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Augustus Caesar, Ph.D. on December 18, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Rabbi Harold Kushner takes a hard look at difficult issues in "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." Written out of his own personal grief and struggle with spirituality, this book is an important and groundbreaking reassessment of what it means to believe in a god and how to reconcile that belief to the cold fact that horrible things happen in this world on a daily basis. This is the fundamental tension of religion, and Kushner approaches it from an original and profound perspective.
Kushner is a Reconstructionist Jew and a former student of Reconstructionism's founder, Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. Reconstructionist Judaism examines spirituality from a metaphorical perspective, seeing God as the impulse in us that brings out our best traits and leads to live honestly and ethically. It does not see God as an all-powerful father figure in the sky, interfering in people's lives and letting things like the Holocaust happen for a "reason." It is, in other words, a religious worldview that takes a more mature, probing approach to divinity than the standard "God controls everything and we cannot understand His ways" religious line. There are numerous precedents for the Reconstructionist view in Jewish history.
Thus the negative reviews here from fundamentalist Christians, who believe every word of the Bible literally (though they can't be bothered to actually read it) and are unable to consider the thought of a more abstract god because their entire intellectual and spiritual house of cards would collapse. This sort of "God-is-my-protective-daddy" view inevitably forces people of this mindset into a state of denial, obfuscation, and pretzel logic when they try to explain or defend their faith--even to themselves.
"When Bad Things Happen to Good People" is an enormously powerful book which offers a vital glimpse into a more humane and compassionate view of God. I recommend it to everybody.
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