David J. Wolpe's new book, _Why Faith Matters_ ...
October 16, 2008Volume 225 Issue 3
'Why Did It Happen and What Have You Learned?'
October 16, 2008 - Robert Leiter, Literary Editor
David J. Wolpe's new book, Why Faith Matters, which has been published by Harper One, begins in a particularly powerful way. In what he calls a prelude, the rabbi, who grew up in Philadelphia and is the son of Har Zion Temple's rabbi emeritus, Gerald I. Wolpe, describes how he recently stood by the side of a hospital bed in which a friend of his was dying of cancer. Identified only as Isaac, the friend wanted Wolpe to explain why he was sick, why he had to die, and why particularly he had to leave his children and grandchildren.
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David J. Wolpe
Wolpe also told Isaac that the cancer was not about him alone, that those who cared for him were suffering as well.
Did he believe in another world? Wolpe asked. Isaac said he wasn't sure, but he hoped for it. The rabbi quoted novelist Vladimir Nabokov, who once said, "Life is such a remarkable surprise, why should death be less of a surprise?"
Continues Wolpe: "[Isaac] smiled and in that smile was both sadness and a shared moment of hope. Maybe all the chemotherapy, the scans and shots, that kept us in the world, were postponing the bliss of a life to come.
"And yet. To die is to lose everything we know, all the wonders of this world and the people in it. To die is to leave so many stories unfinished and to miss the next act of the stories of others, those whom we know and whom we love." Wolpe wondered what else he could say to a man who was facing the inevitable.
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David J. Wolpe will speak about Why Faith Matters at the Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr on Nov. 18 at 7:30 p.m. For information, call the school at 610-667-4070.
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