- Hardcover: 291 pages
- Publisher: The Jewish Publication Society; 1 edition (July 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0827606737
- ISBN-13: 978-0827606739
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,063,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Illness and Health in the Jewish Tradition 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Abrams, director of Maqom, a school for adult Talmud study, and Freeman, a physician and instructor of medicine at Harvard, have compiled a useful and stimulating sourcebook of Jewish writings on physical illness and healing. The editors gathered their selections based on the belief that these readings could provide comfort and hope to patients actually suffering from illnesses. The book is divided into seven sections; the writings in each section are arranged chronologically from ancient to modern, from the Bible and Talmud to Harold Kushner and Mordecai Kaplan. For example, in the section on "Rules and Ethics," the great modern rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, in an essay titled "The Patient as a Person," advises physicians to see the patient not as a machine but as a human being who is the disclosure of the divine. Other sections address such questions as: "How can one cope with illness?"; "What kinds of lessons can be learned from suffering and illness?"; "What Jewish prayers address the situation of physical illness?"; "What are the characteristics of a Jewish physician?"; "Of what help is a rabbi in a situation where someone is suffering?"; "What are the responsibilities and rights of the patient, physician and community according to Jewish custom?"; and "What constitutes good health?" Writings range from poems and prayers to inspirational stories from survivors of illness. Overall, Freeman and Abrams's anthology provides a wonderful collection of Jewish writings on illness that can offer inspiration and comfort for those who are suffering. (July)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Publisher
In this sourcebook of Jewish writings on health, illness, and recovery, writers reflect on the experience of being ill from a Jewish spiritual perspective. The authors address key questions devout Jews have always confronted, whether suffering and loss have some larger meaning or lessons, whether extra-medical means such as prayer can alleviate pain, and what the proper roles of secular and spiritual headers may be.
Being sick and returning to health are subjects on which every person is, or may eventually become, expert. Remembering an experience of illness from any time and any place is valid and authentic; even the most ancient of texts may speak to us on this subject. A fundamental, even quintessential Jewish impulse is to transform raw, inarticulate pain into written works and then to use those writings to guide and teach. We offer these passages to our readers in the belief that they will begin to envision illness not just as a clinical, physical state but also as a spiritual challenge, thereby opening new avenues for alleviation of suffering.
We pray that this anthology will prove useful to people who now suffer from illness and to their loved ones, linked with them in distress. May they find consolation and food for thought. For chaplains this volume may serve as a useful sample of classic and modern Jewish literature on the subject of illness. We hope that healthcare givers, seeking to examine their actions and attitudes in light of Jewish ethics and models will gain valuable insights. Finally anyone interested in the interconnection of medicine and religion will find much to ponder here. What emerges from these diverse selections is a holistic Jewish understanding of the healing of conjoined body, mind, and spirit through loving human relationships, communal support, and individual will. - Dr. David L. Freeman Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams