I just finished Mitch Albom’s 2009 book, Have a Little Faith.  It’s about life’s purpose, about losing belief and finding it again.

The volume begins with a request from Albert Lewis an eighty-two year old Jewish rabbi, the author calls, “The Reb.” The man is from Albom’s hometown and asks Mitch to deliver his eulogy.            (Continued on the next page.)

The Reb told him a story from the older man’s youth. During the great depression, he had only two sets of clothes. On the day of his Bar Mitzvah, a celebration honoring his be-coming a Jewish man, the boy’s father gave him a new suit. 

A few weeks later, wearing that same suit, he and his father took a trolley car to see a relative, a well-to-do attorney.  Since they were going to the man’s house, his father carried a cake his mother had baked.  

At the house, a teenage cousin came running up to the pair, took one look at Albert, and burst out laughing. He squealed, “Al (The Reb), that’s my old suit!  Hey, guys! Look!  Al’s wearing my old suit!” 

Albert was mortified. On the trolley ride home, he fought tears as he glared at his father who had traded his mother’s cake for a suitcase full of clothes. The son now saw the exchange as rich relatives giving to poor ones.

 When they got home, the boy couldn’t hold his hurt any longer.  “I don’t understand,” Albert cried.  “You’re a religious man.  Your cousin isn’t.  You pray every day. He doesn’t.  They have everything they want.  And we have nothing!” 

His father nodded, then answered, “God and the decision he renders is correct. God doesn’t punish anyone out of the blue.  God knows what his is doing.”

It was the last time The Reb judged life by what he owned.

 From a sermon by The Reb: “My friends, if we tend to the things that are important in life, if we are right with those we love and behave in line with our faith, our lives will not be cursed with the aching throb of unfulfilled business.  Our words will always be sincere, our embraces will be tight.  We will never wallow in the agony of ‘I could have, I should have…’ We can sleep in a storm… And when it’s time, our good-byes will be complete.”

 His conclusion was my favorite part of the book.  I need to remember this wisdom and abide by it. 

I recommend the book. It was humbling. 


Dottie (Nov.-Dec. ’09) adds, “The book tells the secret of happiness. Be satisfied.  Be grateful — for what you have, for the love you receive and for what God has given you.”

* from the feb 2010 instructions files *

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