Illness and Health In the Jewish Tradition

Overview

The premise of the Jewish attitude toward illness is that living is sacred, that good health enables us to live a fully religious life, and that disease is an evil. Any effective therapy is permitted, even if it conflicts with Jewish law. To bring about healing is a responsibility not only of the person who is ill and of the professional caregivers, but also of the loved ones, and of the larger circle of family, friends, and community.

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1999 Hardcover New in new dust jacket. Tracking provided on most orders.

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Overview

The premise of the Jewish attitude toward illness is that living is sacred, that good health enables us to live a fully religious life, and that disease is an evil. Any effective therapy is permitted, even if it conflicts with Jewish law. To bring about healing is a responsibility not only of the person who is ill and of the professional caregivers, but also of the loved ones, and of the larger circle of family, friends, and community.

Illness and Health in the Jewish Tradition is an anthology of traditional and modern Jewish writings that highlights these basic principles. Editors David Freeman, a practicing physician, and Rabbi Judith Abrams reexamine and reapply these tenets to modern life, with a varied selection of memoirs, stories, essays, prayers, poetry on illness and healing from the Bible to modern day.

Topics cover the role and duties of the physician, reflections on suffering, prayers for healing, the pastoral role of the rabbi, and the ethics of caregiving. Contributors include scholars, rabbis, poets and writers of fiction, medical professionals, storytellers, liturgists and illness survivors.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Abrams, director of Maqom, a school for adult Talmud study, and Freeman, a physician and instructor of medicine at Harvard, have compiled a useful and stimulating sourcebook of Jewish writings on physical illness and healing. The editors gathered their selections based on the belief that these readings could provide comfort and hope to patients actually suffering from illnesses. The book is divided into seven sections; the writings in each section are arranged chronologically from ancient to modern, from the Bible and Talmud to Harold Kushner and Mordecai Kaplan. For example, in the section on "Rules and Ethics," the great modern rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, in an essay titled "The Patient as a Person," advises physicians to see the patient not as a machine but as a human being who is the disclosure of the divine. Other sections address such questions as: "How can one cope with illness?"; "What kinds of lessons can be learned from suffering and illness?"; "What Jewish prayers address the situation of physical illness?"; "What are the characteristics of a Jewish physician?"; "Of what help is a rabbi in a situation where someone is suffering?"; "What are the responsibilities and rights of the patient, physician and community according to Jewish custom?"; and "What constitutes good health?" Writings range from poems and prayers to inspirational stories from survivors of illness. Overall, Freeman and Abrams's anthology provides a wonderful collection of Jewish writings on illness that can offer inspiration and comfort for those who are suffering. (July) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780827606739
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society
  • Publication date: 1/28/1999
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.07 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
General Introduction: Judaism and Healing
Pt. I To Cope, to Endure, to Sustain, to Transcend 1
Pt. II Seeking Meaning in Suffering 55
Pt. III From Where Will My Help Come? 95
Pt. IV The Jewish Healer 127
Pt. V The Caring Sage 175
Pt. VI Rules and Ethics 207
Pt. VII The Sacredness of Health 247
Additional Reading 276
Historical Background 281
Notes and Credits 285
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