Inspirational reflections on life, adversity, and death; by a rabbi who serves at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. In chapters that read like learned, compassionate sermons, Krauss draws widely on parables, Jewish traditions, Western culture, and on his own and the cancer victims' experiences. Life, he says, is a ""precious gift"" to be cherished, used meaningfully, and yet held with ""open hands"" so that it can be relinquished when the time comes. The seriously ill and the dying often recognize these truths. Survivors frequently live more fully, reaching out to others or embracing a worthy cause. The terminally ill tend to savor each moment and use their remaining days to wind up their affairs or to do the things they were too busy to do before. Unlike those who are bitter or withdrawn, such patients extend their life spans and find purpose in living Krauss, who has transcended the amputation of a leg and the death of a beloved first wife, writes without unctuousness and with authority. The remit is intellectually upscale for a frequently inspidid genre.