Every one of us sooner or later walks through hell. The hell of being hurt, the hell of hurting another. The hell of disease, the hell of loss. The hell of knowing that this year, like any year, may be our last. But we need not come out empty-handed. In the spirit of such classics as When Bad Things Happen to Good People, A Grief Observed, and When Things Fall Apart, More Beautiful Than Before examines the many ways we can transform physical, psychological, and emotional pain into a more authentic, meaningful life. As the leader of Wilshire Boulevard Temple, one of America’s largest and most important congregations, located in the heart of Los Angeles, Rabbi Steve Leder has witnessed a lot of pain. It’s his phone that rings when people’s bodies or lives fall apart. After 27 years of listening, comforting, and holding so many who suffered, he thought he understood pain and its challenges—but when it struck hard in his own life and brought him to his knees, a new understanding unfolded before him as he felt pain’s profound effects on his body, spirit, and soul. Now, in this elegantly concise, beautifully written, and deeply inspiring book, Steve Leder guides us through pain’s stages of surviving, healing, and growing to help us all find meaning in our suffering. Drawing on his experience as a spiritual leader, the wisdom of ancient traditions, modern science, and stories from his own life and others’, he shows us that when we must endure, we can, and that there is a path for each of us that leads from pain to wisdom. “Pain cracks us open,” he writes. “It breaks us. But in the breaking, there is a new kind of wholeness.” This powerful book will inspire in us all a life worthy of our suffering; a life gentler, wiser, and more beautiful than before.
STEVE LEDER is the Senior Rabbi of Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Los Angeles and the author of such critically acclaimed books as The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things and More Money Than God: Living a Rich Life without Losing Your Soul. He is a graduate of Northwestern University; studied at Trinity College and Oxford; and was ordained at Hebrew Union College. The winner of numerous awards for his interdenominational and cross-cultural dialogue, Leder has been a guest on CBS, ABC, NPR, PBS and featured in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times among other places. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.