What do you and your readers think about a person that dies the very day after Yom Kippur?
Dear AHM -
When I was a kid I learned that we say "viduy" (the confession of our sins) before eating our pre-fast meal in case a person should choke and die while eating and not make it to the day of atonement. Since then I've always chewed very slowly and carefully at the seduah hamafseket.
I'm not a judgemental person and I would feel very strange trying to guess at the reason for the time and place of anyone's death. Still, if one had to choose the day one was going to be laid to rest the day after Yom Kippur might not be a bad choice. Hopefully the person used the month of Elul to patch things up with friends and family and get his affairs in order. A peaceful day spent fasting and praying and thinking of Godly things, while surrounded by family, friends and community might be a preferable last day on Earth to one spent making sales calls at the office or cleaning out the garage.
When I was a little girl I used to sit with my father in Shul (yes, another tale of Shifra's father - I guess I'm waxing nostalgic lately) and he used to translate some of the tefilos for me so that I would understand them. He may have introduced me to "Unesaneh Tokef," a poem read on Yom Kippur, a bit young (should a four year old really be subject to tales of strangulation and death by fire? Maybe not) - but it did teach me that no one knows how and when they will die.
While constantly thinking of death may make a person feel depressed and hopeless it can be a positive thing to occasionally remember that we do have a limited time in this world.
As it says in Perki Avot: "The day is short and the work is plentiful."
Questions, comments, wire transfers?
Send them along to Shifraq@gmail.com