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The Lord Is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom of the Twenty-third Psalm

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  564 Ratings  ·  91 Reviews
From the author of the bestselling "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" and "Living a Life That Matters" comes a new book of practical spirituality, inspiration, and encouragement gleaned from what may be the best-loved chapter in the Bible: the Twenty-third Psalm.
Paperback, 192 pages
Published August 24th 2004 by Anchor (first published 2003)
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Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another "damp, drizzly November in my soul" (Melville, Moby-Dick), and I've just come from another funeral. No, it's September, and the Twenty-Third Psalm that I heard this morning sounded different from the same psalm routinely recited at Jewish burials. Thank you, Harold Kushner.

Years (and years) ago, I read Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People; and had I reviewed it, the title of the review would have been "When Good Articles Happen to Become Bloated Books." During the past few de
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
I truly enjoyed this book. It helped me to understand more deeply the meaning and intention of the Twenty-third Psalm. It’s one of my all time favorite psalms and I always include it in my prayers. I’m sure people have their own understanding of this psalm, but I really liked this interpretation of it. Rabbi Harold S. Kushner goes line by line through the whole psalm explaining what it means to him.

Since I was raised Catholic, and I’m not saying all Catholics fall in this category, I came to bel
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
After 9/11 I lost my faith. I had been going to church, and then I stopped. I couldn't get myself through the doors, even though I knew I should. A couple of years later, Kushner's book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People, passed through my hands. His words comforted me and helped me to refocus on the goodness of God, and I returned to my faith. Years later, Kushner's meditation on the 23rd psalm was sent to me by an anonymous teacher following the shooting at Sandy Hook School, part of an ou ...more
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If you only read one book this year, read this book. Everyone knows this psalm but does anyone really know what it means? I can't begin to explain what comfort I received from Rabbi Kushner's explanations of each line of the Twenty-third Psalm. There were times I read the book with tears in my eyes as his revelations struck a chord with me. You don't have to be Jewish to appreciate his words; you don't even have to be a believer in G-d. Just to know that there is something greater than yourself ...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Oct 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I went to a Baptist seminary and studied there for 5 years. I have read all kinds of commentaries doing my papers of Biblical exegesis. Honest to God, nobody compares to the Jews in interpreting the Bible. After all, it is their Bible and we took it from them. Some of us hijack the interpretation and insist on one way of interpretation, and these are what you could call "Christian Fundamentalists". One way of interpretation and it is their way. But Rav. Kushner is amazing. I like his depth of sc ...more
May 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Each line of the 23rd Psalm examined in detail by a rabbi of vast intelligence, insight and wisdom. He doesn't just stick to the Judaic interpretation. It is a wondrous read - you won't just say or read it in rote after you read this book.
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books that rested on my bookshelf for some time, waiting for the day when "I should get that one read." Well, I finally picked it up. I am so glad I did.

I remember reading Kushner's first big hit, "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" many years ago. Subsequent books have been pretty good, but not quite to that level. But this one ranks right up there with his first.

The words of the 23rd Psalm have brought comfort and peace to many people for thousands of years. Why? Kush
Ted Hovey
Jun 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I think it's fair to say that for many people, the Twenty-third Psalm is a favorite part of the Bible. It has been a favorite of mine since childhood. Why? What is it about this Psalm that appeals to us?

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner writes: "The primary message of the Twenty-third Psalm is not that bad things will never happen to us. It is that we will not have to face those bad things alone, 'for Thou art with me.'"

And: "God is the one who is with us when we have to do something hard. He is the one w
Sep 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Kushner dissects the the well known Psalm verse by verse, elucidating in fascinating detail why exactly these words (the King James translation) provide such comfort to so many people in so many circumstances.

Despite a cringe-worthy sentence every chapter or so ("that is why many members of minority groups adopt extreme hairstyles and give their children unusual names"), demonstrating Kushner's unfortunate sexism and racism, the book overall is very valuable.
Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
This may be the most inspirational book you will ever read (outside of a Bible). If you are questioning life or have lost your faith (no matter what religion), this book will help
guide you on the path to healing.

It's a must read for everyone.
John Holst
May 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have used this wonderful book as part of a church book study several times. The participants always enjoy Rabbi Kushner's style of connecting his life stories to their own stories.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spiritual, group
WOW! This was a great and simple commentary on the 23rd Psalm.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing

can be used as lesson/group discussion
May 26, 2017 rated it liked it
There were several parts of this book which were incredibly well written, and they would have earned five stars on there own. However, I was less impressed with the book as a whole. My recommendation is to pick up a copy from the library and read the first half of the book.

Below are a couple of my favorite quotes:

“Perhaps we need to ask ourselves, Which is greater faith: to love God because He gives us everything we ask for, or to love God because He is God, even if life turns out to be less ful
Paul Saas
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rabbi Harold Kushner who also wrote When Bad Things Happen to Good People presents a phrase by phrase analysis of the 23rd Psalm. He draws heavily on his own Jewish background but he also includes some Christian and secular perspectives. He is pastoral in his approach and has an engaging and comforting way of writing. Kushner presents a theology of life including addressing questions such as why does God allow suffering or evil to happen. In addition to Jewish scripture, he also references recen ...more
Oct 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, bedside
Really great book of reflection. I would especially recommend it to those interested in Scripture Study.
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A meditation to be read and read again.
Christina Burnett
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I finished this just before the Las Vegas massacre, and it could not have been more timely. A great book for helping to reconcile our hurting world with our belief in a loving, benevolent God.
May 06, 2018 added it
I have always been drawn to the 23rd Psalm and this book gave me a much greater connection to it and understanding of it. I really loved it. It spoke to the core of my spiritual being.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful sermon and meditation on Psalm 23.
May 05, 2011 rated it liked it
The book opens with this BS proposition: “Can fifteen beautiful lines from a single page of the Bible change your life? I believe they can, if you are willing to open your heart to their magic.” Luckily, I had read Kushner’s “Overcoming Life’s Disappointments” because this opening statement was a real disappointment. Sure it can change your life. Many people’s lives have been changed by opening themselves up to some “magic”: Jim Jones and his Kool-Aid-drinking followers, Moonies, Scientologists, ...more
Ron Turner
Mar 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Short little book from a rabbi that breaks down each line from the psalm to provide a lesson. It's a bit of a stretch at times but I liked the author's take on God, grief and gratitude.

Evangelical Christians and conservative Jews are a fan of the Hebrew God who is all-powerful and responsible for everything that happens in your life. God's Plan. But the author argues that God steps back. We have free will. We are bound by the laws of nature. That's God's Plan. The randomness of life.

That plays
Brian Whited
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: theology, audiobook
Kushner has written yet another book describing his all-powerless God. He goes against both Christian and Jewish theology in an attempt to relieve God of any association with the evil and difficulties that are present in the world. To Kushe, God is a comforting friend that grieves along side you in your trials. God wishes he could stop the pain, but he is unable to do so, he is bound by the laws of nature. The only problem with this view is that the Bible is emphatic that God is the Creator. He ...more
Jo Ann
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
I would read anything Harold Kushner wrote! I think this is my 5th book from this wise Jewish Rabbi, and I always reap so much from his thinking/writing. While taking us through the beautiful words of the 23rd Psalm, he sheds light on what the psalmist was writing, as well as what we might reap from it in our modern world.
There's just too many pearls of wisdom in this book that stopped me in my tracks - and prayers - to share in a review...but I had to smile and agree, and share, when he speaks
Jan 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
This small, contemplative book seeks to illuminate the beloved and probably the best known psalm, number 23, which begins with the well remembered opening line: The Lord is my shepherd...

Rabbi Kushner does a nice job of drawing practical meaning out of these beautiful words and offers readers an opportunity to ask themselves what lessons they might extract from this most comforting of verses. He also manages to present his ideas in a nicely ecumenical fashion, respectfully integrating Christian
Jul 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book is so inspiring…I could read it over and over! It really touches the heart and means so much to me. In life there are some really difficult times we must face which one of those times for me was caring for my sick Mother after loosing my Father. They had been married for 57 years and had lost a child (my brother) and then my father passed just ten months later. It was a horrible time for the family… but especially for Mom. Anyway, a few weeks before she passed I would take this book wi ...more
Apr 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Rabbi Harold S. Kushner wrote this book in the aftermath of 9/11. This line-by-line reflection on what is probably the most beloved of all the psalms can be helpful in dealing with any calamity that life is sure to throw our way.

When he was doing his book tour following the publication of the book, I heard Rabbi Kushner speak. He's an incredibly impressive man -- kind, smart, helpful. I've read most of his books and his ability to look at our situation today through the lense of scripture is bo
Mar 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
I listened to this book just after finishing Travelling Light by Max Lucado which was on the same topic, so I can't help but compare them. Of the two I got much more out of Kushner's book. It was interesting listening to the thoughts on the psalms from a Rabbi's perspective instead of a Pastor's, and yet I found Kushner had both a more personal pastoral touch and a deeper insight. Whereas I found Lucado very fluffy I felt I was chewing steak and forced to really think about the passage reading K ...more
Dec 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
In his book, The Lord is My Shepherd, Rabbi Kushner shares his thought on the most beloved Twenty Third Psalms. It is an easy comforting read. I enjoyed his insights about Moses and Pharaoh. Also his comparing emotions and passions to water. They can be raging torrents, delightful streams, or calm pools. God has set the bounds for both water and passion. He has the power to calm the storms of our life.
Aug 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Shelves: religion, audiobooks
My grandmother made me memorize this psalm when I was little and I always wondered what the big deal was about this particular psalm since it is read at pretty much every funeral I go to.

Rabbi Kusher does an excellent job of going through the psalm line by line, word by word, giving the original Hebrew meaning and how the word or concept applies today. He gave me a new appreciation for this psalm.
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Harold S. Kushner is rabbi laureate of Temple Israel in the Boston suburb of Natick, Massachusetts. A native of Brooklyn, New York, he is the author of more than a dozen books on coping with life’s challenges, including, most recently, the best-selling Conquering Fear and Overcoming Life’s Disappointments.
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“We are the messiah for somebody if not for everybody.” 6 likes
“when He tells Moses, “When you go to Pharaoh, I will be with you” (italics added). For me, that is God’s name, the essence of what He is about. God is the one who is with us when we have to do something hard. He is the one who is with us when we are tempted to feel that the world has abandoned us. He is the one who is with us when we feel alone in the valley of the shadow.” 0 likes
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