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When Bad Things Happen to Good People [Paperback]

Harold S. Kushner
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 24 2004
When Harold Kushner’s three-year-old son was diagnosed with a degenerative disease and that he would only live until his early teens, he was faced with one of life’s most difficult questions: Why, God? Years later, Rabbi Kushner wrote this straightforward, elegant contemplation of the doubts and fears that arise when tragedy strikes. Kushner shares his wisdom as a rabbi, a parent, a reader, and a human being. Often imitated but never superseded, When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow.
Since its original publication in 1981, When Bad Things Happen to Good People has brought solace and hope to millions of readers and its author has become a nationally known spiritual leader.

Frequently Bought Together

When Bad Things Happen to Good People + Overcoming Life's Disappointments + The Lord Is My Shepherd
Price For All Three: CDN$ 34.60


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Product Description

From Amazon

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 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars IT'S DANGEROUS ...four years later Dec 1 1999
Format:Paperback
My grandaughter is now 12. The book is dangerous. Readers need approach this when they are emotionally and spiritually strong not in crisis. I was told this book could help me in a crisis mode and I approached it thinking I could use the book as a spiritual guide in dealing grief. I would tell anyone that is in crisis mode and believes in a kind and loving and interacting God to talk with their spiritual leader and stay away from this book. This philosophy is not kind. It is brutal and those in crisis don't need the brutal approach.
It is interesting reading when you can view it and not be involved. Go to your place of worship read cs lewis A Grief Observed.
I read WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE and then HOW GOOD DO WE HAVE TO BE. I have a 7 year old Granddaughter with a brain tumor who has endured one year of hell. I don't believe anymore. Both of Mr. Kushner's books are logical, perhaps too much so and maybe too simple in theory. If God is passive then why do we pray at all because God 'can do nothing' and why would he give one family strength to endure life over the person who does not ask. If God assumes no role, I can't believe. I can't believe in a loving God that could be passive with sickness,war,and events of hunger,and human destruction. The books have created more thought processing in my life than any other book because they challenged my belief in a God of intervention. The answer according to Mr. Kushner is to be thankful for life and accept what we have created for ourselves or life has given us. I can't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Find a New Cause Dec 2 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Before reading this book, the first thing that came to mind, as I noticed the title was, "They find a way to turn things around."
I had no idea that this book would be such a wonderful book about accepting life, on life's terms.
But first, let's look at what causes bad things:
1. The laws of nature
2. Chaos
3. An act of nature
4. Human choices
5. Self-punishment when things go wrong
6. Accidents
7. Expectations of others that can't be fulfilled
8. Denial of emotional immaturity
9. Our reactions to our own hurt and anger
This book teaches readers how to accept any kind of loss as part of the human condition.
This book also tells us that God doesn't cause accidents, sickness or disasters.
When Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge, they chose to live a life of choices, as knowledge is about choices. They were no longer in the category of animals. And with those choices God gave humanity choices, feelings and a need to congregate with other human beings, to affirm who we are.
God is here to build strength, courage, and a sense of human connection - when we are ready to ask ourselves, "Now that this has happened, what am I going to do about it?" And, "Whom does this suffering serve?"
"Let me sugggest that the bad things that happen to us in our lives do not have a meaning when they happen to us. They do not happen for any good reason which would cause us to accept them willingly. But we can give them a meaning."
It is a book to be read over and over again, to become more compassionate, as compassion is the language of God.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three Books to Read When Bad Things Happen Oct. 6 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" when it first came out five years ago. At that time, I found it interesting. But it was not until I lived through the deaths of two of my closest friends and I reread Kushner's classic that the book hit me with full force.
Two recent books also were important to me during this dark period. I recommend all three of these books for anyone going through difficult times:
During the early summer, two of my best friends, both women in their 40's, died of breast cancer. I searched for books that would offer me help with my grieving, and a perspective on what I was going through. Most of the books I found were long on faith and hope, and short on thought. And then I discovered two books, both recently published, that saved my life. These were Harold Kushner's "The Lord is My Shepherd" and Dennis Shulman's "The Genius of Genesis." I thank Harold Kushner and Dennis Shulman for giving me a way of understanding life and death in a broader context.
All three of these books tenderly guided me through my valley of the shadow of death and toward healing, and, for this, I am grateful.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read when searching for God after a loss. March 20 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
After the recent loss of my infant daughter, I was searching for answers and trying hard to stay connected to God and continue to believe in Him. Being faced with the death of an otherwise perfectly healthy baby it was very difficult to believe that
1. God is a good, loving God.
2. God is a just/fair God.
3. God controls everything.
How could God be fair and good when he would take the life of an innocent child? Why, if God controls everything, and is good, would he not spare this precious life? Why, if God is fair, would he "punish" this little girl with months of pain and suffering before her ultimate death?
For anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one, particularly a child, this is a powerful book. Rabbit Kushner has addressed these painful questions with clarity and love for God. He uses the bible to back up his analysis and tells his story in a manner that everyone can understand. He also speaks to the horrible things that so many people, who think they are helping, say to those who have lost a loved one.
What matters is not so much if one agrees with Rabbi Kushner's analysis, it matters that he puts forth a way to stay close to God while working through your grief. At this time, I choose to agree with Rabbi Kushner's analysis. For all those who wish to tell me it is incorrect, I know they do not have my best interest at heart. Staying close and connected to God and not turning from him must be my goal. If I cannot at this time reconcile what I thought to be true with my reality, and it causes me to turn away from God or question God, nothing else matters. Anything that can help me continue love and give praise to God while I continue to work through my grief is valuable.
I commend Rabbi Kushner and consider this book a must read for anyone who has suffered a loss.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Still reading but so far very informative.
Published 1 month ago by Anne Smith.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A great book that will lift your spirits when the world puts you down
Published 1 month ago by Wini
5.0 out of 5 stars This book helped me survive!
My little daughter had a genetic illness that there was no cure for. We had a hope that a procedure called a bone marrow transplant may be able to help her. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Sandi Norman
4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful
Author lived through horrible trauma of loss of a child to an uncurable condition. He reconsiders his religious beliefs and his feelings and passes on advice to those subjected to... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Elizabeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
The book provides a bit of an understanding, but I am quite surprised at parts of this "Godly" person's belief system.
Published 20 months ago by R. Ernst
3.0 out of 5 stars "There are better choices to understand the mind of God..."
Dr. Kushner was well-intentioned in his authorship of this book to be sure. However, his basic conclusion is that God is either all-powerful or all-loving. Read more
Published on June 15 2004
4.0 out of 5 stars A sincere and thoughtful book
I must admit, I have not read this book yet, but aim to do so. I heard Mr. Kushner speak about his book on the God Squad and the message of his book . Read more
Published on April 5 2004 by TH
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Blame God--or Yourself!
This gem of a self-help book offers real comfort for those who are wrestling with the eternal dilemma of why disasters--especially the death of a loved one--happen. Read more
Published on March 2 2004 by Plume45
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most profound books I've ever read
Rabbi Kushner's relections on the existence of evil and the goodness of God was of great help in coming to grips with the loss of our son and our anger at God. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars good , but flawed
A good piece of writing but greatly flawed. Rabbi Kushner should have read what other religions have to say about this topic. Read more
Published on Dec 21 2003 by VIKRAM INDRAJIT CHOPRA
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