Chapter One: Bad Things
Why is this happening to me, Rabbi?" the dying man moaned from his bed.
"I'm not a rabbi yet," I said. "I have four more years to go."
"Well, that's soon enough," he said, "so tell me: What did I do to deserve this? Why does God want me to die before my time?"
His name was Neil Roth. He was a married father, thirty-nine years old, and he was dying of leukemia. I was in my second semester at the Rabbinic College of Reform Judaism, visiting him at Memorial Sloan-Kettering as part of my pastoral care internship, and Neil was the first patient on my list who'd been conscious.
When I saw that...