Another yartzeit is approaching.
Another year to reflect and remember.
A reminder...that life is short.
A reminder...that life goes on.
A reminder...that although there are so many paradoxes in life, they are intertwined. They are connected. Yes, life is short. Yes, losing the life of a loved one is difficult. Yes, the yartzeit is painful. But life does go on. And along with all that, this one day is a powerful tool, a tool that can be used for connection and introspection.
Every year, my family gathers together at the kever of my brother and we daven together. With a minyan of men, kaddish is said and someone makes a siyum.
I always read and reread the words on my brother's tombstone and it strikes me every time I see it. Those words are so true.
Shalom...kishmo kein hu, oheiv v'rodeif shalom.
Shalom...he was like his name, he loved and pursued peace.
I think about life...and how at the end of life all that is left is the mitzvos and good deeds we have done. How sometimes we get distracted and we pursue things that are fleeting...but in the end, all that matters is what kind of person we became, how we have helped those closest to us, what kindness we have done, whose lives we have enriched by touching them...and...what we pursued.
Do we pursue peace?
Do we do what it takes to keep things peaceful? At home? At school? At work? With our neighbors?
What do we pursue? What do we run after?
What are we busy with?
How do we spend our time?
Time...the most precious thing given to us on earth.
Time...we can never get it back.
Time...once a second has passed, it is over.
The only thing left of the time we have here is how we utilize it.
Every year, something new hits me and I take a new message from the yartzeit.
But there are certain messages that are constant, certain reminders that will always be there.
There is so much we want to accomplish in the short time we have in this world.
And we never know when our last day will be.
Shalom a"h never knew. Did he ever dream that after climbing up the tree, he would fall...and it would be over? Did he ever imagine that this would be the last fun thing he did with his friends...before his soul left him?
He didn't know...and we never know.
That is not to say that we should live with a constant fear of the unknown, on the contrary, we should try to appreciate the time we have while we have it, the people close to us and whatever we have been blessed with...before it is taken away.
We are here to accomplish, to become better while we are in this world. The biggest message we can take from all of this is-use your time wisely, while the clock ticks, while the heart beats.
Like R' Scheinberg zt"l said, "You need to cover ground before the ground covers you."
May you be able to use the time you have in this world to the fullest, doing good things and making those around you happier. May you be able to grow in your avodas Hashem, in your emunah, in your connection to Hashem and may He give you many opportunities to do mitzvos and good things!
To read more about Shalom a"h whose 8th yartzeit is tomorrow, Wednesday, Yud Zayin Av, click here and here and here.
L'ilui nishmas Shalom ben Chaim Nosson