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Death and Life

08/29/2018 10:16:29 AM


Beth Schafer

In the past two weeks, our nation has bid farewell to two iconic figures Aretha Franklin and John McCain. Both with voices that stirred people, they lived boldly. Both survived hardships beyond what most of us will ever have to confront. We have seen biography after biography, clip after clip of the famed R&B musician and the esteemed senator. What extraordinary lives they indeed lived.

Judaism teaches that death often times helps us to recall life. Tradition says that Yom Kippur in many ways is a rehearsal for our own death. How do we want to be remembered? The examination of our lives is exactly what Judaism tells us to do at the dawn of the New Year. What steps are we taking to spiral upward in character, in faith or in our relationships? Regardless of whether we believe in God or the afterlife, were we to “meet our Maker” in two weeks, would we be proud of how we spent the gift of our earthly lives? Universally, God is the Author of Life who gave us guiding principles on how to live. Specifically, though, we are the authors of our lives. If there is a light in the darkness of death, it is to motivate us to live fully and gratefully, here and now. And in doing so, may the story of our lives be a blessing to all whom we know and love.

Shabbat shalom,



Tue, February 18 2020 23 Sh'vat 5780