And God Cre­at­ed Hope: Find­ing Your Way Through Grief With Lessons From Ear­ly Bib­li­cal Stories

Mel Glaz­er
  • Review
By – March 23, 2012

Be it the loss of a loved one through death, through a breakup, loss of a job, or per­fect health, we all expe­ri­ence loss­es, and the pain may seem more than we can bear at times. But loss and grief are nat­ur­al, trans­for­ma­tive parts of the human con­di­tion, and always have been, since bib­li­cal times. It’s through the ear­li­est Bible sto­ries— the sto­ries of Cain and Abel, of Jon­ah, of Job, of Israelites wan­der­ing through the desert — that Rab­bi Mel Glaz­er begins to help read­ers through the hard work of heal­ing. It takes time to heal from a dev­as­tat­ing loss, but it’s impor­tant to cre­ate a new nor­mal,” a new way of being once the mourn­ing process is over. And there’s noth­ing pre­vent­ing us from try­ing to make that new nor­mal even bet­ter than the old nor­mal, con­tends Glaz­er, a cer­ti­fied grief counselor. 

Although the Bible sto­ries serve as a jump­ing off point, Glaz­er pro­vides many pow­er­ful anec­dotes from con­tem­po­rary times and from his own life, too. Be fore­warned that some of these sto­ries are even more trag­ic than the Bib­li­cal ones. Like the author’s friend, Rab­bi Ken­ny Berg­er, who had writ­ten a mov­ing ser­mon in 1988 on what the Chal­lenger astro­nauts might have been think­ing in those last five min­utes of life when they knew they’d die in the shut­tle explo­sion. Berger’s ser­mon focused on If only” state­ments, like If only I had anoth­er chance, then I would do it bet­ter.” The ser­mon was quot­ed in print and by rab­bis of almost 1,000 con­gre­ga­tions nation­wide. Short­ly after deliv­er­ing his ser­mon, Rab­bi Berg­er and his wife died in plane crash. He was 41 and had just been offered a life­time con­tract by his syn­a­gogue. The author places that sto­ry in a chap­ter called Death is a Part of Life.” Every­one has a mis­sion in life, whether or not we’re con­scious­ly aware of it. Per­haps writ­ing that ser­mon was Rab­bi Berger’s life mis­sion, the author suggests. 

Oth­er issues cov­ered include bar­gain­ing and prayer, shock and anger, rit­u­al, fear, wan­der­ing, for­give­ness, joy, growth, and lega­cy. The book is non-denom­i­na­tion­al, writ­ten with ten­der­ness, and a poten­tial god­send to any­one who must deal with loss, even if the loss hap­pened years ago. 

Robin K. Levin­son is an award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and author of a dozen books, includ­ing the Gali Girls series of Jew­ish his­tor­i­cal fic­tion for chil­dren. She cur­rent­ly works as an assess­ment spe­cial­ist for a glob­al edu­ca­tion­al test­ing orga­ni­za­tion. She lives in Hamil­ton, NJ.

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