Friday, March 12, 2010

A Life Well Lived

Some people are born manic depressive, for me, going from the activity of Birthright Israel Next's conference in New Orleans to Cincinnati for the funerals of two relatives has provided a pretty good case study.

It wasn't even a question as to whether or not I'd go back to Cincinnati for the funeral. Everything else was put on hold.

What is interesting though, is that Jewish funeral rituals focus little on the 'afterlife', instead noting the impact of the individual's life, particularly on family and friends. It is as if we are saying that even in the death of this person, they continue to bring us together. Most of the prayers don't speak about death, but of life and of comfort.

When my cousin spoke to eulogize his father, his point was that it had been a life well lived. That he had impacted others positively, left an impact, and brought fullness to his time among us.

One quote used in the funeral really struck me as central to the underlying philosophy of the funeral ritual in Jewish culture, "let it not be said that life was good to us, but that we were good to life."

Our time is finite, but our potential is limitless.

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