Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Yizkor Story: Life is a play

Yizkor Story:

I was visiting  Jewish patients in S. Francis Hospital some months back,
when I walked into  the room of an elderly Jew named Irving, a holocaust
survivor, who was  obviously quite sick, surrounded by his entire family. I spent
some time with  him. We talked about the horrors of his youth, and how he
managed to continue  on living. He told me it was his mother?s words to him
on the last night  before we were separated. ?She sat me down and said to me:
Life is like a  play. (My mother loved the theater). Every one of us plays
a part. Not just  us, but our parents and grandparents, they?re parents and
grandparents, all  the way back to Abraham and Sarah. They?re all part of
this production. Each  of us plays a part, And then, when your part is over,
you go backstage. You?re  not gone, you?re still there, looking, cheering,
helping out in any way you  can from behind the scenes?

And then mama grabbed my hand, looked  me in the eye, and said: ?Yisrolik?
le, I don?t know what?s going to happen,  how long we?ll be together,
whether I?ll survive this. But one thing I ask of  you, If you survive. Don?t
give up, play your part. You might feel sad and  lonely, but I beg of you- don?
t give up. Play your role as best you can. Live  your life to the fullest.
I promise you, you won?t be alone. Tate un ich, babe  un zeide, mir velen
aleh zein mit dir oif eibig, Daddy and me, grandma and  grandpa, we will be
with you forever, we?ll be watching you from backstage.  I?m sure you won?t
let us down and you?ll play your part.? It was those words  from Mama that
got me out of bed on many a difficult morning.

By  the time the man finished the story, there wasn?t a dry eye in the

A few days later the man passed away. At the shiva, the  family kept
repeating the story about the play. It was clear they took comfort  from knowing
their father was still there, behind the scenes. Still, there was  a profound
sense of pain and loss.

They asked me to say a few  words. So I got up, turned to the family, and I
said: There is a postscript to  the story. What happens at the end of the
play? All the actors comes back out?  Right? Everyone comes out on the stage
to give a bow.  It is a basic  Jewish belief that all the neshomos, every
soul will come back and be with us  once again, right here in this world. I
assure you, I said, with G-d?s help,  you will soon be reunited with your

My dear beloved  friends, my fellow yiden, we?re about to say the Yiskor
prayer. Remembering  our loved ones whose souls join us right here in shul. Let
?s promise to make  them proud.Let?s make this the year when each of us
reaches our potential,  when each of us lives each day to the fullest, When we
realize the beauty of  every moment. when we appreciate the G-dly purpose
we have been privileged to  be a part of.

And while we?re at it, let?s ask our loved one?s  to send an email or put
in a phone call to the producer, Or maybe even pay Him  a visit. Tell Him,
please. We?re ready for Moshiach. We?ve done our job.  Enough with the
yiddishe tzoros, shoin tzeit, it?s time already. The Rebbe  told us to prepare
for Moshiach, that we?re this close to completing the task  for which we were
chosen. We?re ready for the time when ? lecho tichra kol  berech ? all
creations will bow to you, We?re ready for the final bow. We?re  ready for the
time when G-d will call this place His  home.

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