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By Alan Lew

There are moments in lifestyles while one is stuck completely unprepared. Drawing on either his rabbinical education and his scholarship in Buddhism, Lew leads readers on a trip from confusion to readability, from doubt to trust, as he opens a route to self-discovery that's obtainable to readers of all faiths.

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The Kol Nidre calls the soul to its group and to its rightful position during this nice, transferring sea of existence. bankruptcy 9 dying AND YOM KIPPUR ATONE ONE SUNDAY MORNING a few YEARS in the past, i used to be speeding out the door to the airport on my technique to a rabbinical convention, whilst I got an emergency name from the Board of Rabbis hotline. a girl, relatively distraught, used to be at the line. She had given beginning to a child boy that morning, yet he were born with out so much of his mind, and she’d been informed he may die that afternoon. She wasn’t married to the boy’s father—he used to be a Catholic, and a clergyman had already been known as in to accomplish a baptism. Now the mummy and her mom and dad, who have been Jewish, sought after whatever Jewish performed. They have been on the collage of California–San Francisco scientific middle, so i ended in on my approach to the airport. the child was once within the in depth care nursery, a room I’d by no means been in sooner than. It used to be like a hothouse. The temperature was once saved at over 90 levels. What did they need performed? because the girl and her mom and dad spoke, it appeared transparent that it was once very important to them that the infant have a reputation. based on Jewish legislation, we don’t identify a child until eventually it's been alive for a minimum of every week, yet this gave the impression of a nasty time to face on Halakah. that they had already shaped a powerful bond with this baby, and it was once vital to them that he have an identification, a Jewish id. additionally they appeared to wish a few kind of final rites played. And so it used to be that i finished up doing one of many strangest and saddest issues i've got ever needed to do as a rabbi: announcing the advantages for the start of existence and the tip of lifestyles in a single breath—in a unmarried prayer. First I acknowledged the prayer for naming a toddler that's frequently a part of a Brit Milah (ritual circumcision), after which I stated the ultimate prayer a Jew says in life—the Vidui, the final confession. I stated them as one lengthy prayer. We named the kid Baruch, a blessing. every body within the room—the lady, the baby’s Catholic father, either units of grandparents—everyone had the unusual feel approximately this tragic and radiant baby that he used to be ideal, that this was once a short yet excellent life—not excellent within the feel of being the easiest, no longer in a comparative feel, yet within the experience of being completely what it used to be. This was once an ideal lifestyles, a existence with no mind or any period to talk of, a lifestyles began and resulted in a unmarried breath. The rabbis had an expression—k’fitzat ha derech, a shortening of ways. It expressed a feeling of telescoping a trip, the feel of crossing an most unlikely distance in a number of short strides. And being within the presence of a lifestyles that rushed so precipitously known as to brain the phobia of my very own finish. This existence was once a synopsis of all existence; we're born and we die, and not anything that occurs in among is almost as vital as those primary evidence of existence. And there has been anything else I felt that day, which i've got usually felt, prior to and after, yet by no means fairly so strongly as that morning within the extensive care nursery at UCSF, and that's that when lifestyles is over, it really is transparent that it has taken up no time or area in any respect.

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