Life as a Passing Shadow

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This speech is framed around a poetic Midrash that alludes to three levels of living, from the shallowest to the holiest. It encourages us to live life with a higher purpose and altruistically. It introduces Yizkor with a message about how to give life to those who have passed on and how to live our own lives so that they are worth remembering. If you live a certain way, even death does not snuff out your life, because that life continues to give to all of those who come after. It is our job to yizkor, to remember those who came before us so that their lives will be not fleeting but eternal. When you make Kiddush Friday night and you have your family around the Shabbat table, your parents and grandparents live on. When you celebrate a Jewish Holiday in all of its richness and traditional spirit, when your home is permeated with a very true and real sense of Yiddishkeit your ancestors live on in perpetuity.

The speech is peppered with anecdotes and insights that are sure to engage and inspire, including:

  • The clever sign above one of the department’s at a British university
  • The epiphany at a popular ski resort that transformed a hedonist into a philanthropist
  • An astute observation on virtue by David Brooks (of the New York Times)
  • The Jewish gangster’s Shabbos gift
  • The pros and cons of a car with a 12 cylinder engine
  • The Jewish philosopher’s unusual deathbed request

And of course the occasional joke:

  • How one man wasted 12 years in therapy
  • A philosophical debate between two Chelmites
  • What every Jew is really thinking about on Yom Kippur
  • Marvin Goldberg’s new hearing aid
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