A Yizkor Message

At Yizkor we gather to remember the ones we miss. The ones who knew your world. The ones who grasped the corkscrew twists special to your own soul.

What we miss, and what we crave, is the intimacy that assures you in a world that spins no matter your wishes, that drives on heedless of your hopes, that you are not alone.

That person — parents, spouse, sibling, friend, lover — to whom you tossed your heart the way as children we played egg toss — catch this, but move with it and do not break it.

That person held your heart, cradled it in his or her hands. And is gone.

You cannot erase the pain. You cannot reverse the loss.

Instead, you must carry them — memories — some robust and some fragile. Some that are clear and bright like summer suns. And some slight, glinting off your memory like a whispered prayer.

Half a heart is hidden away, broken and concealed like an afikomen, leaving us with the hope that one day, at the promised end, the hoped-for end, it will be reunited.

When we lose the people we love, whether we lose them in life or lose them to death, there is a sense of an unfinished story, a chord as yet unplayed.

So we carry all those disparate legacies inside ourselves. And like stones in a shepherd’s sling, we count each and every one.

Today we gather to thank them for being a part of the stories not only that we tell, but also the story that we are.

For even absent voices have an echo inside of us. And even when the person is no longer here, we know that love does not die.

About the Author
Named the most influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek Magazine and one of the 50 most influential Jews in the world by the Jerusalem Post, David Wolpe is the Rabbi of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, California.
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