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.