When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner

Availability: Amazon, Los Gatos, San Jose, Santa Clara County

Our member Alan Maybruck writes:

For several years after the death of his son Aaron, Rabbi Kushner had been trying to make sense of this tragic twist of fate for he and his family.

He sees himself as a good person, and a respected rabbi who, after years of study had felt he was not only aware of God, but had a pretty good understanding of who God is and how God operates.

Many of us today share Kushner’s early vision of God. He is the parent figure in our mind that protects us from evil things.

For years the death of Kushner’s son made it more and more difficult for him to see God in this parental light. He comes to the conclusion that his concept of God can not withstand the scrutiny when trying to explain “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People.”

Because of this scrutiny Kushner is forced to redefine the God that was explained to him as a child, as well as the God he came to believe in during his rabbinic training.

The book discusses his argument for this new perception of God and how God interacts in our lives when tragedy strikes. Kushner draws parallels between the seemingly random “Bad Things” that happen to us and the biblical story of Job.

His new perception is that God’s role has less to do with how or why a tragedy occurred, and more to do with how God’s guidance helps us respond to the maladies life sometimes throws our way.

And so, the questions we ask should not be why do bad things happen to good people, but rather how will we respond, what do we intend to do now that it has happened.