Dying with Dignity

The most recent issue of Moment magazine has a powerful and moving article by Rabbi David Wolpe about his conversations with a friend dying of cancer — as well as his own grappling with mortality, his own cancer.

A beautiful, sad, and profound piece of writing from one of our most gifted rabbis:

We talked about the strange gratitude we felt for the medicinal poison as it coursed through our veins. There was a moment of solidarity, then sadness returned. Battle stories are not nostalgic when they end in death.

“But at least you understand,� he said. It reminded me anew that my cancer was a gift; as a rabbi, it validated my compassion. People knew that I really did understand, that my family and I were not unscathed. Needles seemed forever to be dangling from my arm and I was always being shoved into metal tubes for scans and pictures and tests. Enduring the elaborate technology of survival creates a kind of tribal solidarity.

“So,� he asked, “why did it happen to you?�

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