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When Bad Things Happen to Good People Paperback – August 24, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 639 customer reviews

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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?" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (August 24, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400034728
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400034727
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (639 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,910 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
I had heard about this book and had looked at it, but I didn't read it until 2003 when I was disagnosed with cancer. This book really helped me deal with the diagnosis and treatment. I've been recommending this book ever since then. I gave a copy to a friend of mine whose husband died of cancer and now I am sending it to my niece & her husband, who has cancer.

This book has a good philosophy. Sometimes things happen for no reason. God is not sitting in heaven sending us bad things. God loves us and cares about us when bad things happen.

Rabbi Kushner says that when bad things happen, we'll ask, "God, why did you let this happen to me?" when a better response is to say, "God, help me with this".

This book helps the reader to remember that when we are dealing with any type of loss, e.g., loss of a loved one, loss of health, loss of home, God loves us and will help us deal with our loss.
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