Facing Illness Finding God: How Judaism Can Help You and Caregivers Cope when Body or Spirit Fails
Rabbi Joseph B Meszler
Jewish Lights, $27.95
Facing Illness Finding God is a great book: well written and easy to follow.
Jewish customs and terms are explained throughout so this Gentile had no difficulty keeping up.
This is gracious, as a number of books I have read by Jewish authors seem to presume that all their readers have a basic understanding of Yiddish, and I don’t.
Facing Illness Finding God gives very sensible advice. I particularly liked the advice on what to do when the ill person is not really well enough for visitors:
“Anyone whose sickness is overwhelming and speech is hard for him should not be visited in person, but rather people should come into an outer chamber of the house and ask and inquire of him whether they need to help clean or rinse anything, or similar things, and they should listen to his pain and pray for compassion on his behalf.” (Aruch HaShulchan [Yoreh Deah 335:8])
This includes accepting the situation if the sick person tells you to go away and that the knowledge that sometimes we want to visit to make “us feel better”.
Facing Illness Finding God is divided into four sections: part one is for the sick person, part two is for care givers, part three is on family and illness and part four on universal questions of God.
Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler is the spiritual leader of Temple Sinai of Sharon, Massachusetts. He has also written A Man’s Responsibility: a Jewish Guide to Being a Son, a Partner in Marriage, a Father, and a Community Leader’ and contributed articles for the book New Jewish Feminism: Probing the Past Forging the Future.
by Katy Gerner
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