Living A Life That Matters
(Harold S Kushner)
In a triumphant quest to readdress the balance between the struggle of human desire for significance through achievement, Rabbi Kushner lays hold to the premise that personal sacrifice is often the voice of God calling us to release the better part of ourselves into the world, which may not often times, yield an abundance of physical or material gain but will lead us to our personal shalom, which in time will reap its reward. He suggests that this is attainable if we choose to dwell simultaneously in our faith and physical worlds, giving both equal credence. When faced with a professional or personal dilemma, he states that our goal should be to make morally right choices which are more often than not the most difficult ones!
Symbolized by the conflict of Jacob and Esau, Rabbi Kushner uses this infamous biblical story of two brothers and their contrasting personalities and how they individually approached moral predicaments. Through their inept ability to make the right choices, (Esau selling his birthright to his brother for a bowl of food, and Jacob, tricking his brother into doing so and continuing his pattern of trickery for some time to come), He highlights how easy it is to give into temptation to achieve a goal. Rabbi Kushner enables the reader to confront the potential darker side of our personality that we try to ignore, insisting that we are all susceptible to make bad choices in the face of opportunity! The central question posed in this writing is do we allow our moral values to guide us in pursuit of a better life or are there other factors that override our moral reasoning simply because we confuse power, wealth and gain with true achievement and success?
The book amorously concludes that after this struggle has been played out in our life, expectant lessons are learned and we do eventually find our own personal peace and wholeness. Rabbi Kushner declares that the key to reaching this equilibrium is finding others to connect with you, who believe in you for who you are, and not what you do or achieve. He wraps up by signifying that one of our greatest roles in life is to carry one another, and indeed make the choice to be our brothers keeper
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