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Vayechi: Don’t Act Your Age. Act Your Perspective

Live in the Now!

After the death of Yaakov, a large procession consisting of Yaakov’s descendants, lead the funeral on his final journey to Israel, where Yaakov is buried in Me’arat Ha’Machpelah in Chevron, the first biblically recorded Jewish purchase of land in Israel. This is after Yaakov insisted that his son Yosef swear to not to bury him in Egypt, a move that he was forced to do due to an international famine. We saw in last week’s parsha that Hashem stated that he should “not be afraid of going down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation”.

Per the Talmud (Ketubot 111a), being buried in Israel brings forth a certain level of forgiveness for sins committed. Many sources quote the distinct segulaic advantages of being buried in Israel. Additionally, being buried in Israel is considered by many to be a symbolic statement of eternal attachment to the Jewish homeland.

To take a step back and look at this concept more broadly, why is it that many of our Jewish brethren wish to be buried in Israel when they die, but aren’t living in Israel today?

Money and convenience are the two things quoted most often as the reason why people don’t make Aliyah to Israel during their lifetime. Ironically, money and convenience are the two things that the diseased family will be giving up when they bury their family member in Israel, as being buried in Israel when the extended family isn’t there, makes them inconvenient to visit. And in regards to the monetary cost, just google “cost to be buried on Har Ha’Zetim” while sitting down. Furthermore, the cost of visiting from outside Israel is prohibitively more expensive than visiting in a local cemetery.

I think that one of the reasons why people choose to not live in Israel may be, is that they get too stuck in “the now”.

Now I need my Starbucks/Tim Horton’s/Costa Coffee.

Now I need my Amazon Prime.

Now I don’t have the patience to learn Hebrew.

Now I need the big house with the yard

And they forget to look at “the later”.

However, people with experience and perspective, are able to see what the potential of what they will be missing and are therefore able to look through “the noise” to get what they want before it’s too late (this may actually be the reason why people seek advice from older people and why quality mentors are usually older in age).

A trick in life is to live in “the now”, while at the same time, being able to see things in perspective. To quote Brad Paisley in the lyrics to his song Letter to Me; “I know at 17 it’s hard to see past Friday night, and you’re wondering if you’ll survive it…. you’ve got so much up ahead and you’re still around to write this letter to me”

Doing the correct thing, by viewing things in perspective and by drowning out the “noise” of the doubters, is a recipe for success in life.

Before moving to Israel, I had the negative naysayers tell me I won’t be able to afford living here, won’t be able to “settle” for the lifestyle, and how on earth would I find a wife during the times of Corona. To date, I have great employment in an all-Israeli company, volunteer for the community, host huge Shabbat meals and am in the early stages of buying a house with my wife. Yes, the wife I met within a month of moving to Israel at the height of the pandemic.

Do the right thing for yourself, do your hishtadlut, pray, and you will be amazed at how quickly the magic happens.

Shabbat Shalom!

About the Author
StevenZvi grew up in Brooklyn and in his professional life worked in the healthcare industry in New York City. Wishing to create additional meaning and purpose in his life, he moved to Jerusalem in November 2020, where he lives with his wife, works in the Medical Technology space and volunteers for Hatzalah. He uses his writing capabilities as a healthy outlet not to receive money, recognition or fame. It’s his hope that his articles will have some positive impact on the Jewish nation and humanity worldwide. He may not live forever, but his contributions to society might.
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