When Words Fail
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When Words Fail : A Religious Response to Undeserved Hurt

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When Words Fail: A Religious Response to Undeserved Hurt is written for the pastoral counselor as well as for all those who accept the teachings of their respective religious traditions and the insights of the behavioral sciences as being indispensable tools in the healing process. As the author, Rabbi Sholom Stern, writes, "Anyone who brings with him or her the spiritual or sacramental teachings of his or her faith, combined with an orientation employed by counselors, psychologists, or psychotherapists, is functioning as a pastoral counselor." In this profound and uplifting volume, Rabbi Stern demonstrates that the Jewish tradition and the classical teachings of Judaism as reflected in biblical and rabbinic literature, as well as in the legal codes and hasidic literature, contain insights into human nature anticipating those popularized by today's behavioral scientists. Themes such as loneliness, companionship, comfort, listening, silence, nonverbal communications, responding to tragedy, and reconciling ourselves with a God who appears at times to be deaf to our cries are discussed, with an emphasis on how traditional Jewish sources have treated these important issues. Rabbi Sholom Stern has spent over thirty years in the rabbinate helping those who have been ill or have experienced the loss of a loved one. Rabbi Stern states, "I never cease to be amazed at how a kind and sensitive remark to the emotionally distressed has the capacity of touching one's soul and provides a measure of healing. There have been times when a gentle touch of another person's hand or a hug has been more efficacious in raising one's spirits than the most eloquent words that one has the capacity to articulate. Ultimately, the glory of God is revealed in the majesty of human kindness, which is the thesis of this book."show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 237 pages
  • 159 x 233.4 x 26.9mm | 557.93g
  • Jason Aronson Inc. Publishers
  • Northvale NJ, United States
  • English
  • 0765760932
  • 9780765760937

About Sholom Stern

Rabbi Sholom Stern, spiritual leader of Temple Beth El in Cedarhurst, NY, was ordained at the Jewish Theological Seminary in June 1966. A graduate of Yeshiva University, he is a trained pastoral counselor, having received a doctorate in pastoral counseling from the Hebrew Theological College in Skokie, Ill., in 1985. Currently he serves as honorary president of the Rabbi Isaac Trainin Coordinating Council of Bikur Cholim of Greater New York after having served as president for four years. The council promotes compassionate care for the sick, frail, and homebound, and serves as a national clearing house and resource center for the American Jewish Community in the area of bikur cholim (visiting the sick). Rabbi Stern is married to the former Batya Rabinowitz and they have two children, Eliyahu Etan and Danya Ronit.show more

Table of contents

Introduction 1. The Pastor in Judaism Speaking Authoritatively, but with a Compassionate Voice Chief Actor in the Healing Drama 2. Give Me Friendship or Death Health and Human Companionship Guilt and Mourning Case Study of a Self-Indulgent Life Excommunication and Mourning Alone with God Sitting Shivah without Any Visitors Beyond the Destroyed Temple Life and Dialogue 3. Enter the Comforter The Non-Professional in the Healing Process The Therapist as a Friend Silence, A Prelude to Venting Anger Does job Express a Death Wish? Shattering of Eternal Verities Bittush--A Hasidic Approach to Recovery Never Letting Go of Guilt Feelings The Victim Interceding for Friends 4. Listening Greatest Comfort, "Be Quiet, Let Me Speak" Jacob's and Elkanah's Failures Everyman's Question--Is God Listening? The Lead Role without a Word The Handmaid Acting as Sarah's Mother Listening with the Third Ear 5. When Silence is Golden The Bible's Most Famous Silence Silence Speaking Louder Than Words When Knowing Too Much Induces Silence Highest Praise to God A Teacher's Silence The Loudest Noise in the World 6. Give Me Your Hand: Reflections on Nonverbal Communication The Healing Touch Rabbi Johanan's Therapy Eyes and Nose--The Silent Messengers Clothing and Nonverbal Communication Cain's Body Language Semichah--Ordaining through Touch 7. Responding to Tragedy Every Man Has His Breaking Point Asserting Power in a Powerless Setting God Favoring the Pursued The Weakness of Phyysical Power Feeling Superior through Laughter The Present Doesn't Determine the Future Parallel between Job and Zion The Most Perfect Thing--A Broken Heart Job, The Man with No History Life--A Pledge Returned to God Can Evil Be Good? Creative Illness The Holocaust--Acquiring Special Credit 8. Making Your Peace with God Where is My Father? Metaneeds More Than Basic Needs I Know My Redeemer Lives Revealing Our Darker Side Depression and Distancing Ourselves from God Fighting Death, Asserting Life Our Humiliation and God's Tears Job's Healing without God's Answer Liberated from Prison of Self-Centeredness Concluding Thoughts Bibliography Indexshow more