The day I die

If I ever have an obituary, I imagine the headline looking something like this:

“Anat Ghelber passed away in her sleep at age 91 at her home in Jerusalem”

Whoa, I’m 28 now, will I really live to be 91?
I don’t know.
One day I will die for sure, I know that.
I’m just not certain when, of course.
I will say that the idea of death is fascinating to me.
Death can either frighten us, or it can be a reminder that this physical life is so limited.
I remember this one time, a couple years ago, I called my father up.
(I was feeling pretty sad that day.)
I told him that I just felt hopeless.
My father responded, “Anat, we are all hopeless because we are all going to die. The question is, what are you going to do in between?”
In Judaism, we don’t look at death as an ending point.
We are expected to either reincarnate or go into the next world.
If we have things to work on, then we come back.
We are brought back to complete the work left undone in our previous life.
Judaism, however, also recognizes that the soul comes to the body in order to correct the body and the mind.
The mind and the body are not pure.
It is the soul’s job is to correct it, and we have a limited time to do so.
But…what if I was to die?
Would I be expected in the next world?
I try to be a good Jew, but am I really?
Am I a good Jew compared to other Jews?
Would they compare my Mitzvahs to other Jews’ Mitzvahs?
And do these questions really matter?
I mean, Dear life, how much time have I wasted on fear and obsession?
How many times have I cried about my past instead of focusing on this very precious moment?
I don’t know if I’ll be accepted into the next world.
I don’t know how I will die.
I don’t know if I’ll die when I’m 91, maybe I’ll be 35 or 61.
This moment is all we really have.
There are all these questions that I keep on asking myself.
“Will anyone ever come to my funeral?”
“Who will shed tears?”
“Will anyone even notice I passed away?”
Now, all those questions are good up till a certain point.
But, in order for me to be the best Jew I can be, I need to learn to acknowledge my thoughts and feelings about death and go back to the present moment, right here, right now.
This life is happening right now.

About the Author
Anat Ghelber was born in Israel and moved to Texas when she was 13. There, she experienced anti-Semitism in public schools. She moved to New York City when she was 20. She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. She started submitting articles to the Jewish Voice 2 years ago, and in her free time enjoys writing poems.
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