Tag Archives: judaism and illness

Book Review – Soul to Soul: Writings From Dark Places

Soul to Soul: Writings From Dark Places, is, in my opinion, a compelling read regarding the journey one takes from learning about illness to acceptance of it, and the effects it has on one’s self physically, mentally and emotionally.

Deborah Masel does not mince words in describing her journey upon learning she has metastatic breast cancer. It took her over two years to write her book, a book filled with so many emotions, within the backbone of logic that is often ignored or put aside. Her descriptions of her thoughts and feelings and roller coaster of emotions is vividly described within the pages. Acceptance is difficult, and initially unwanted. Religion and Jewish writings are the glue that helped her to finally realize the harshness of her predicament and helped her to become focused.

Her struggles brought upon by her illness heightened her religious foundation through her readings of the Torah scholar Kalonymus Kalman Shapira. Although he was murdered during the Holocaust, he became her mentor. She thrived on his words, words of strength, commitment and encouragement. His teachings brought her comfort during times of extreme distress, while trying to manage and deal with the cancer that continued to infiltrate her body.

While focusing on life’s beauty, focusing on the Rebbe’s words, and accepting positive and heartfelt compassion and love from friends, Masel was able to accept her cancer, and accept the fact that her life would come to an end, sooner than she expected it to. We all die, some sooner than others. For me, that is the message within the pages of Soul to Soul: acceptance of life, terminal cancer and of eventual death

I read Soul to Soul in one sitting. I could not put the book down. I laughed, I cried and I sighed many sighs. Aside from the haunting images of how her cancer affected her, I found the book to be an intriguing and fascinating read regarding her combining cancer with her Jewish ideals. Masel’s words touched me in many aspects, in part due to the fact that my mother had Stage IV metastatic breast cancer, so I could empathize to Masel’s story, as a family member of one who had the same illness.

I highly recommend this book for many reasons, including its inspirational content. Masel’s writing is forthright and filled with the struggles one endures while trying to accept a disease that has taken over her body. Soul to Soul: Writings From Dark Places is a legacy to those who are suffering illnesses that may or may not be terminal. It is a gift to the families and friends of those who are suffering or have suffered. It is a tribute to Deborah Masel’s strength, and it is Deborah Masel’s legacy to her Jewish identity and to her mentor, who was instrumental in guiding her spiritually through the most difficult and toughest of times.

I personally own and have read this book filled with sadness and inspriation.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Judaism, Memoirs, Non-Fiction