From the beloved author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, deeply moving and illuminating reflections on what it means to live a good life.
As a congregational rabbi for half a century and the best-selling author of twelve books on faith, ethics, and how to apply the timeless wisdom of religious thought to everyday challenges, Rabbi Harold S. Kushner has demonstrated time and again his understanding of the human spirit. In this compassionate new work, his most personal since When Bad Things Happen to Good People, Kushner relates how his time as a twenty-first-century rabbi has shaped his senses of religion and morality. He elicits nine essential lessons from the sum of his teaching, study, and experience, offering a lifetime’s worth of spiritual food for thought, pragmatic advice, inspiration for a more fulfilling life, and strength for trying times.
With fresh, vital insight into belief (“there is no commandment in Judaism to believe in God”), conscience (the Garden of Eden story as you’ve never heard it), and mercy (forgiveness is “a favor you do yourself, not an undeserved gesture to the person who hurt you”), grounded in Kushner's brilliant readings of Scripture, history, and popular culture, Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life is compulsory reading from one of modern Judaism’s foremost sages.
Distilling the wisdom of an extraordinary career, this profoundly inspiring yet practical guide to well-being is truly the capstone to Kushner’s luminous oeuvre.
About the Author
HAROLD S. KUSHNER is rabbi laureate of Temple Israel in Natick, Massachusetts, having long served that congregation. He is best known as the author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People. This is his thirteenth book.
“Whatever one’s religious beliefs may be, Mr. Kushner has much to say about the enduring value of community, the universal need for a sense of belonging, the moral sense that makes us human and the ways in which we also help ourselves by helping others.” —The Wall Street Journal, Best Books on Retirement Living “As always, Rabbi Kushner writes in a way that makes deep religious thought accessible to the casual reader while giving the more sophisticated reader a great deal to ponder… Regardless of your personal theology, and whether or not it aligns perfectly with Rabbi Kushner’s, this is a book that will stimulate your mind and encourage you to examine what are the lasting lessons in your life.” —The Jewish Book Council
"This book is a provocation and a balm for the skeptical and the religious, offering persuasive evidence that belief, forgiveness, hope, altruism, and joy are all possible, even in the face of death." —Publishers Weekly
“An absorbing read and easy to comprehend.” —Library Journal
“A lifetime of wisdom from someone who has studied, suffered, celebrated, and, through it all, taught an entire generation. Written for everyone, it could have been written by no one but Rabbi Harold Kushner.” —Rabbi David Wolpe, author of Why Faith Matters
“In this book, Harold Kushner both wrestles with and celebrates the capacity of faith and community to reaffirm life’s purpose and generate joy and meaning in the twenty-first century.” —Dr. Erica Brown, author of Happier Endings: A Meditation on Life and Death
“In Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life, the empathy and understanding of Rabbi Harold Kushner shine forth on every page. He draws upon his vast storehouse of knowledge and speaks clearly from his compassionate heart to provide insight and comfort to his readers. This is a profoundly wise and spiritual book.” —Rabbi David Ellenson, chancellor emeritus of Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion
“I remember how, when I was in school, Harold Kushner’s words opened up Judaism to me in new ways. He spoke with wisdom and clarity, a love of the tradition, and a willingness to challenge it all the same. Now, decades later, Rabbi Kushner’s wisdom and his understanding of faith have grown even richer. His book offers inspiring guidance from a man who has embraced life.” —Rabbi Mychal B. Springer, director, Center for Pastoral Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary