In his foreword to this paperback, Arthur Green states:
"Most of Torah's teaching is about how to live. But there is a special section within its wisdom that also speaks to us about how to die. Since we are all mortals, our lives are fashioned somehow around the awareness that death is inevitably to come, this is one of the important lessons."
This collection of 42 end-of-life stories about Hasidic holy men who died between 1760 and 1904. Their students wrote down accounts of their last months, days, and hours, which were compiled into The Book of Departure, first published in Hebrew in 1930. It has been translated afresh by Rabbi Joel H. Baron and Rabbi Sara Paasche-Orlow and contains new pastoral commentary on Jewish traditions appropriate for caring for people in their final days.
Of special interest are 19 brief essays called "Insight Sparks" which examine topics such as blessing the children, clinging to God, coping with dementia, the language of death, ethical wills and advance directives, kindness, and the timing of death.