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When Bad Things Happen to Good People [Paperback]

Harold S. Kushner
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 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 Often imitated but never superseded, When Bad Things Happen to Good People is a classic that offers clear thinking and consolation in times of sorrow.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.

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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
4 of 5 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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5.0 out of 5 stars This book helped me survive! April 7 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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. It was 1988, there were only two places available at this time. Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, B.C. It was all so new. I was terrified, I din't know how I was going to get through this, I had so many questions that there were no answers for. Someone told me about this book. Rabbi Kushner lost his own son and he speaks of his journey as a father first and then as a Rabbi, a man of God who was faced with an earth shattering truth. His struggle was one that every parent who has ever had to deal with a life and death crisis, no every person, searches for something to make some sense of our tragedy. To find a way to get up every day and take another step. He helped me immensely, I could go on, one day at a time, sometimes, one breath at a time, until my little girl died two years after I read the book. And then it helped me go forward from there. I was lucky enough to meet him a few years later when he came to Nova Scotia to speak. I have given a copy of this book to several people over the years and also to some clergy. I gave another away just last week to a friend whose Grandchild is terminally ill. My loss was twenty three years ago but what bought me here today is that I have just purchased another copy. I still have my original copy, well thumbed and highlighted but I always like to have another just in case. This is an excellent book, if you or someone you love are in pain, you really should buy a copy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Helpful Jan. 22 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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 very traumatic events.

Much of his discussion is around relation to God and people's interpretation of the trauma.

Especially helpful in recognizing 'blame' and guilt are often inappropriate, albeit, automatic, reactions. He advice is helpful in re-establishing one's life post-trauma.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book Dec 21 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The book provides a bit of an understanding, but I am quite surprised at parts of this "Godly" person's belief system.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars God - a silent spectator? Dec 8 1999
Herold Kushner's WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE has almost the same questions that I had had in my mind when I lost my beloved wife a year ago in an accident, when she was hardly 28. I found this life very cruel, ruthless, and totally meaningless. As long as sufferings prevail in this world, God has no role to play here. Only those who do not know what a suffering is in reality, and those who fear of losing their fortune (whatever little they have), end up prasing Him "Kind & Loving". Kushner's attempt to protect God even amidst the unexplainable sufferings amounts to ridiculing the pains of a sufferer. While I don't endorse H.K's "God-protecting" views, I respect him for his daring questions about sufferings and God's role as a lame-duck/silent spectator.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. Since bad things happen, God isn't all powerful.
The theology is faulty. As Christ was fully God, and still fully human, so God can be loving and powerful without losing either attribute. God's power never works outside His perfect will, and sometimes that will permits evil.
A much better book on endurance through adversity is "With Joseph in the University of Adversity". This book will answer most questions Kushner poses from a much more conservative and scriptural point of view.
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Most recent customer reviews
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
3.0 out of 5 stars An honest, probing Reconstructionist examination.
Rabbi Harold Kushner takes a hard look at difficult issues in "When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Read more
Published on Dec 18 2003 by Augustus Caesar, Ph.D.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book!
Rabbi Kushner has written a book that I believe will be remembered for hundreds of years to come. In a non-judgemental way, he talks about bad things and how good can still exist... Read more
Published on Dec 9 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Find a New Cause
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. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2003 by Carmen Matthews
3.0 out of 5 stars Is it quite the right issue?
I'm sure that the question "why do bad things happen to good people?" is one of the big questions that spiritually-minded people have always asked themselves. Read more
Published on Oct. 31 2003 by Cladinoro
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