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Have 2, Get 2.
Ask R.Abbi

Ask R.Abbi

“Dear R. Abbi –

Why do people have to endure pain and suffering on their deathbed?”

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# 24 / 40 – August 2007

Have 2, Get 2.

A Simple Spiritual Exercise:

Here is a simple, easy-to-do spiritual exercise:

See if, for the rest of the day, you can substitute the verb “get” for “have.”

For example, if you were going to say, “I have to check my e-mail,” say instead, “I get to check my e-mail.”

It’s amazing how the little change of one word can affect our attitude.

With love,

Rabbi Brian

A web version of this article is available here.
This article was also posted at Street Prophets here.

Ask R. Abbi – This Month’s Question

Dear R. Abbi,

In my work with hospice, I often wonder why people have to endure pain and suffering on their deathbed.  Coming from an Irish Catholic background, I still today get the message that suffering and pain is the only way to absolve oneself of the “original sin” bestowed upon us.  Despite much work on my part to dispel this myth, when I am present for a particularly diffcult death, I go right back to that premise.  I really need to break this pattern.  Any suggestions?

– Euthanatos

Dear Euthanatos,

Augustine of Hippo is widely attributed with coining the notion of “original sin.” My read on the genesis story (and I would say that of most modern scholars) does not concur with the horrific theology that stems from this line of thinking – that God is cruel and un-just.

I would ask you to instead of wondering what St. Augustine might think, to consider instead, “What Would Jesus Do?”

And, I know the answer to that.

It’s one you know too: have compassion for the person who is dying and lovingly witness to them their pain. And, equally importantly, have compassion and love for yourself.

You are doing holy work.

With love,


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