With this issue of Spirituality & Health, Rabbi Rami turns 65, so let’s wish him a very happy birthday! For the past 10 years he’s been answering our spiritual questions, doing his best to avoid personal questions and focusing instead on more universal issues. But for this “birthday edition” of Roadside Assistance, he wanted to share and respond to more personal questions regarding getting older. As he explains, “Many of these questions focus on my death, which to the best of my knowledge is not impending. Nevertheless, I have included them. You never know….”How are you dealing with the health challenges that arise with aging?Poorly. I ignore what I can; seek medical advice when I must; and trust that with regular exercise and a diet of fish, vegetables, fruit, and ice cream, I won’t live a moment longer than I should.Are you afraid of dying?Yes. I have a very low pain threshold, a phobia regarding catheters, and a strong desire not to be a burden on others. To the extent my dying involves any or all of these, I’m afraid of dying. If you are asking if I am afraid of being dead, my answer is no. That …
Rabbi Rami Shapiro is an award-winning author, essayist, poet, and teacher. His spiritual advice column, "Roadside Assistance for the Spiritual Traveler," addresses reader questions pertaining to religion, spirituality, faith, family, God, social issues, and more.
He has this to say about religion: "To me, religions are like languages: no language is true or false; all languages are of human origin; each language reflects and shapes the mindset of the civilization that speaks it; there are things you can say in one language that you cannot say or cannot say as well in another; and the more languages you know, the more nuanced your understanding of life. Judaism is my mother tongue, yet in matters of the spirit I strive to be multi-lingual. In the end, however, the deepest language of the soul is silence."
To comment on this installment of One For the Road or submit a question, email the editors. Questions may be edited for length and clarity; all are published anonymously.