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Living a Life that Matters

A book by Harold S. Kushner

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Warm and Fuzzy.

  • Sep 28, 2002
I wasn't quite sure what to expect from Rabbi Harrold Kushner's LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS. It had an interesting title; one that suggests a deep message, and I had heard good things about the book in reviews. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed.

Being a Christian, I knew that there would be some things that I would not agree with Rabbi Kushner in his book. I was surprised to find how many things I did not agree. For starters, Kushner uses the story of Jacob wrestling with an angel throughout his book. I have no fault there. However, Kushner views the story in a total non-literal point of view; suggesting that Jacob didn't actually wrestle with the Angel of the Lord, but instead just had a struggle with his conscience. He doesn't consider or suggest once that maybe Jacob actually, literally wrestled with the Angel of the Lord.

The book also talks alot about duality, the duality between one's "regular" or "commercial" life and one's "spirtual" life. Kushner ignores the idea that there is no difference between the "two" lives; that they are both one and the same. Reading these parts in the book I was reminded of the Apostle John and how much of his writing and preaching was aimed at eliminating the dangerous duality of Gnosticism.

Finally, this is a warm and fuzzy book. It is not challenging in any way. It stirs very little emotion and presents God as a grey-beard man sitting on His throne who only mixes with His people when necessary. The book suggests that even though Rabbi Kushner is a Jew, Judaism isn't the only religion that will lead one to Heaven (a view that contrasts with what God spoke to the prophets). The book ends on a note of feel good happiness and universalism. Though those things in themselves are not bad, they are dangerous when discussing matters of eternal importance.

Overall, what disturbed me the most about LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS is that it lacked emotion. There was no passion. I don't mind reading a book and disagreeing with what the author writes. In fact, I enjoy that. It makes us better readers, thinkers, and people. However, when an author presents a viewpoint and is very politically correct about the whole thing and shows no passion or emotion, fearful someone may become upset with what has been written, it irritates me. Have the courage of your convictions.

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review by . May 14, 2004
This book helps the reader in the long and sometimes difficult  journey through life. He explains the importance of strong  family bonds, friendships, generosity of spirit and sacrifice  for worthy causes/goals.Specific persons in the Bible are cited as evidence of the aforementioned experiences. Esau was said to  be a man ruled by appetites and excesses. G-d changed Jacob's name to Israel. The author pointed to Milton in reasoning that  personal …
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About this book


“A valuable companion . . . a set of guideposts for living a useful and fulfilled life, no matter what the future holds.”--The Boston Globe

“A wonderful, much-needed primer on the truly important things in life. Many thanks to Harold Kushner for reminding us what we should never forget.” --Mitch Albom, author ofTuesdays With Morrie

“Full ofÉgreat stories and subtle wisdom....This is a book you don’t want to put down or allow to be too far from you in times of crisis.” --Thomas Moore, author ofCare of the Soul
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ISBN-10: 0385720947
ISBN-13: 978-0385720946
Author: Harold S. Kushner
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: Anchor
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"Warm and Fuzzy."
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