6 Tishrei 5773 / September 21-22, 2012
“The Lord said to Moses: The time is drawing near for you to die…”
“The Lord said to Moses: You are soon to lie with your fathers…”
In addition to these two statements of impending death for Moses, this week’s portion, Vayelech, also states that before his death, Moses completed writing the entire Torah – meaning that Moses also supposedly wrote the part of the Torah that describes his own death! Thus, not only was he made aware that his time was coming to an end, but he knew where and when the end would be.
What would you do if you knew you were going to die? What if you knew the exact day and exact moment that you were going to pass?
What are those acts you’d otherwise perceive as selfish that you’d want to do?
What are those acts of love and kindness that you would strive to do for others before your time here on earth is done?
Who would you convey your love to?
What is on your personal bucket list?
We are currently in the 10-day period between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur that is traditionally viewed as “the 10 Days of Repentance.” We’re meant to examine our lives at the deepest level possible, to apologize wholeheartedly for our misdeeds, and to commit to our continued growth as human beings. A natural byproduct of this examination is the realization that we are indeed only human – we all make mistakes, and we all have areas in which we can improve in order to continue striving to be the people we really want to be.
The traditional liturgy for the High Holidays alludes to a Book of Life and a Book of Death, and unlike Santa Claus who is searching for naughty and nice as it relates to giving presents, we’re meant to view the Divine as judging us based on our actions, with that judgment either being life or death in the year to come. A bit harsh comparatively!
But what we can take from this is that from a Jewish perspective, we recognize that life is fragile, fleeting, and that any year could very well be our last. While we may not have the ability to know the exact day and time as Moses supposedly did, we can live our lives wholly, meaningfully, and expressive of the love and gratitude that we all have within us, as if it might be our last chance to do so.
So take that vacation.
Give that charitable gift.
Express your love.
Show your gratitude.
Live your life.
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy, sweet new year.
May we all be inscribed in the Book of Life, and may we live lives worthy of being written about in books.