Thursday, October 6, 2011

There is a story told of the great Anshel Rotchild.
Everyone has heard of the famous, wealthy, banking family, the Rothschilds. The "founding father" of the Rothschild clan, which exists to this day, was Anshel Rothschild, an Orthodox Jew who lived in the middle of the nineteenth century in Austria. Anshel amassed a huge fortune and established a close relationship with the Emperor of Austria, Franz Joseph.

From time to time the Emperor would send visitors to the luxurious and famous palace of Anshel Rothschild. It was the most lavish,luxurious and well-appointed palace in all of Austria, and
everyone wanted to see its beauty and wealth.

During one visit Anshel took his guest, an important government official whose position was just under Emperor Franz Joseph, on a tour of the palace. He showed him room after room, and the guest was awed by the beauty of the gold, the silver, the furnishings,the chandeliers, the imported fabrics. Everything was a sight to behold. There existed nothing like it in all of Austria. When Anshel passed a certain door, he continued walking, but the guest asked to be shown the room behind the door.

 "I am sorry," said Anshel. "This is the one room in the palace that  I cannot show you."  "Why not?" asked the guest. I would love to see every nook and cranny of your remarkable palace.

 "I simply cannot," answered Anshel, and continued walking.  The tour concluded, and the official returned to his master, and  reported everything he saw. The palace was even more than one
could imagine. "However," said the official to the Emperor, "there  was one room that Anshel refused to show me."  "Why not?" asked the Emperor

 "I do not know. But I can guess. You know how wealthy those  Jews are. My theory is that in that room there is a magic moneymaking  machine. That is why he is so wealthy. Behind that door
 must be a machine that creates the wealth of Anshel Rothschild." The Emperor did not know whether to believe his official, so he  sent a second government official to see the palace of Anshel
 Rothschild. The second official came back with the same story.  And a third, and a fourth.

 This time the curiosity of Emperor Franz Joseph was greatly  aroused, so he decided to go himself and visit the palace. Anshel  took the Emperor for the same tour as he did all the other visitors from Franz Joseph's government. And when they reached the  "forbidden room," the Emperor asked to go inside and see what  was there.

 Anshel explained that that was the one place he could not show  anyone. After the Emperor insisted, Anshel gave in, and agreed to show the Emperor the secret room. He took out his keys, opened
 the door, and invited the Emperor to enter. Franz Joseph looked,  and was amazed at what he saw. There, in a small room, was a  simple pine box, and some plain white cloth on a table. That was
all there was!

 "What is this all about?" asked the Emperor.  "We Jews have strict rules about burial customs," explained Anshel. When a person dies, he must be buried in a very simple  coffin, a plain pine box. And his body must be enveloped in a  plain white shroud. This is to maintain the equality of all G-d's
creatures. No one is permitted to be buried in a fancy, expensive  coffin, or in luxurious clothing. Though some may live affluent  lives, and others may suffer dire, abject poverty, in death all are equal."

"But why is this here in this room?" asked the Emperor,  impressed but still confused.
 "At the end of each day, I come to this room, and view the coffin and the shrouds, and I am reminded that even though I have  great wealth and power and I have important influence in the
 highest echelons of the Austrian Empire, I am still one of G-d's simple creatures, and at the end of my life, this is the end I will come to like all of G-d's other children. I do this lest after a day  filled with high finance and major financial transactions, I think too highly of myself, and develop a bloated sense of myself."
Franz Joseph was amazed, and in fact, he was speechless. His respect for Anshel Rothschild grew even greater than before. He never questioned the sincerity, honesty or integrity of Anshel again.

Punch Line

My fellow congregants and friends, who wishes to die. NO ONE!
Who wishes to see there loved one’s die? NO  ONE. 
How often do we find that on or immediately after the High Holidays that someone should die, no too often. So you may say why worry, why be concerned! Rather, we know and understand that our days on earth are indeed limited and it is how we maximize this time on earth with acts of goodness and righteousness and the fulfillment of Torah and Mitzvos. It is these acts and good resolutions that will ensure us a sweet and prosperous year and of course follow us to the next world, and, It is also what we leave behind that we will be remembered for.

As we read the Yiskor today let us remember our loved departed parents and let us at the same time remember what it is they and all our ancestors taught us as Jews and let us find  the spark within us and reignite that spark toward the flame of Torah and mitzvoth.

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