A Thought for Shabbat
Our Torah portion this week, Ha’azinu, is a poem delivered by Moses to the Israelites as his life is coming to an end. Up until now in the Book of Deuteronomy, Moses has shared a lot of laws and reminded the people of their history. Now, as death approaches, he shares final thoughts and warnings.
Moses is fortunate to be able to do this; he knew exactly when his life would be over. We, on the other, do not know when our last day will be. Moses was able to consider his words, understanding that they would be part of his legacy. Do we have that opportunity as well?It is not often (despite what we see in the movies) that we have the chance at the end of our lives to share how we want to be remembered, what we want our descendants to uphold, what values we want passed on.
Many do write ethical wills while they are in good health, but the most effective way for us to ensure a positive legacy is not through words or documents. Even though Moses was able to share these thoughts, what we know about him and what we esteem comes from the way he lived his life. It was not just a poem at the end of his life, but years of sacrifice and leadership that made him so memorable and deserving of emulation.
In our own lives, this is true as well. We write our metaphorical poems and record our legacies every day of our lives. Any day could be out last, so let us consider how to act to wisely ensure that the values that matter to us, the love we have shared, and the positive deeds we have performed will remain even after we are gone.