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Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine
on Mourning

Rabbi Wine wrote many meditations, which Humanistic Jews and humanists have found comforting. Following are two that have meaning in times of mourning.


Death needs courage.  It is so overwhelmingly final that it fills our lives with dread and anxious fear.  When it arrives at the end of a long and happy life it is never welcome, yet not deeply resented.  But when it comes too soon, invading young lives, disrupting hopes and dreams, it adds anger to our fear.  We cry out at the injustice of destiny and wait for answers that never seem to come.

Courage is the power to confront a world that is not always fair.  It is the refusal to beg for what will never be given.  It is the willingness to accept what cannot be changed.

Courage is loving life even in the face of death.  It is sharing our strength with others even when we feel weak.  It is embracing our family and friends even when we fear to lose them.  It is opening ourselves to love, even for the last time.

Courage is self-esteem.  It prefers quiet determination to whining.  It prefers doing to waiting.  It affirms that exits, like entrances, have their own dignity.

Rabbi Sherwin Wine, in Celebration


I believe.

I believe in hope.

I believe in hope that chooses-
that chooses self-respect above pity.

I believe in hope that dismisses-
that dismisses the petty fears of petty people.

I believe in hope that feels-
that feels distant pleasure as much as momentary pain.

I believe in hope that acts-
that acts without the guarantee of success.

I believe in hope that kisses-
that kisses the future with the transforming power of its will.

Hope is a choice,
never found,
never given,
always taken.

Some wait for hope to capture them. 
They act as the prisoners of despair.

Others go searching for hope.
They find nothing but the reflection of their own anger.

Hope is an act of will,
affirming, in the presence of evil,
that good things will happen,
preferring in the face of failure, self-esteem to pity.
Optimists laugh, even in the dark
They know that
hope is a life style-
not a guarantee.

Rabbi Sherwin Wine 


In Memoriam An Interview with Rabbi Wine Memorial Service 1 Books & Video
Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine In the Words of Rabbi Wine Memorial Service 2 SHJ Home Page



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