Friday, November 9, 2007

Day 6: Before I Breath My Last Breath

This day of A Week of Positive Blogging is one that has a lot of interest to me. It deals with, if I were on my deathbed and I have the ability to pass on some words of wisdom to the next generation what would I say.

I have considered this kind of scenario for the last few years since I am at the mid-life point if you will. In my family we don't have mid-life crises, for the most part. Many of us have mid-life awakenings. Everyone dies, and I want my life as well as my passing to have meaning. I want to be able to rest my soul knowing that the fear of heaven was upon me, but also that I left something to those who would continue when I am gone.

Since my grandfathers were all passed away before I was born, and my father passed away when I was three I have dreamed of being able to die on my deathbed after giving my last words to family, friends, and children. Especially to the children I wish to convey to them these thoughts. Whether they are mine or not, Jewish or not, living in Israel or not, this is what I would pass onto anyone willing to listen.

^-^Bee beep^-^Bee beep^-^Bee beep

Ehav Ever's Last Words for the Future Generations

"Gather around me children, because I feel like my time draws near. I can feel my breath drawing shorter and shorter, and time is slipping away. I want to give you something besides the physical possessions that each one of you inherited from me. I want to give you a gift that I wished I had received before my father had passed away. It is a simple gift of words to remember as you go about your life, and for you to remember all the days.

When I was young I walked through the hallways of many phases, and I made many changes. All in search of a purpose to my life and destiny. Many of those choices where bad choices and I often lost good opportunities due to my lack of vision. That was until one day when I sat at my lowest point in life because there was a big empty nothingness that was my life.

Seek out the God of our ancestors, and chase your dreams. He will guide you and bless you when you do his will. Even when difficult times come, and they will come. He will give you the ability to think clearly, act swiftly, and defend what is right. Yet, you must study His Torah (5 Books of Moses), the Prophets, and the Writings for there is much truth in them and they are your foundation for living. For as it says, "Happy is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, in the path of the sinners he does not stand and in the dwellings of the scoffers he does not sit. Because in the Torah of God he he desires, on the Torah of God he will meditate on day and night." Tehillim (Psalms) 1:1-2

Young boys, seek out a wife in your youth. Spy out those girls who are modest, kind, and strong. Test her spiritual standing, and if she is well with God draw her near to you with love. Wait for those things that married people do in their proper time. When you do find the woman for you, treat her like your friend, treat her like your wife, treat her like you sister, but most of all treat her like your queen. Marry her and be romantic and there will many who will praise you for it. Be true to her and do not be tempted by others, because if the Torah requires you to leave your mother father to cleave to your wife then so much more should you abandon those things that would stand in the way of your marriage. Live by the Torah (The Ways of God) like our father Abraham did. Our tradition teaches us that Abraham was kind to strangers giving them food, water, and shelter if they passed by his way. He also taught men of the ways of God and when he died it says that many from the land came and mourned for him. Seek out God as he did.

Young girls, ignore the images that society paints of how women are to dress act and talk. Guide your ways by Mishle (Proverbs) 31:10-31, and dedicate yourself to be an Eshet Chayil i.e. a Woman of Valor. Spend your days learning from those women who are successful in life, spirit, and love. Latch onto those women who are setting examples for the world, and who are loved by their husbands and children. Study the ways of Rebbecca for when Isaac was mourning over the death of his mother Sara, the Torah says that Rebbecca comforted him. (Deut. 24:67) You could be the standard bearers of a new generation of women who inspire the youth to love. For as we Jews say, it is your father who teaches you how to live by the Torah (Ways of God), but it is your mother who teaches you have to love the ways of Torah (The Ways of God). Look at Abraham's wife Sarah for it is said that when she died the kings of the Middle East came to honor her because her reputation as a modest and prophetic woman was known. Seek out God as she did.

I have taught you all from what I received from my family, from the Rabbis, and from my personal study. I have also taught you how to defend yourself by passing on to you the Jewish martial arts I learned called Abir. I taught it to you because I remember being weak in my youth and I remember how I was bullied for being different. I grew up with a fear of standing up when the times arose and I feared acting when it was required. It was my hope that you didn't grow up with that fear, so that if the time came you could defend yourself against the enemies of humanity and truth. For as it says in a movie that once I saw "If you dedicate yourself to an ideal if you become more than a man/woman and if they can't stop you then you can become something else entirely. You can become a legend." That is why I never taught you how to fight without the balance of the path of God being far from it. Stand up for those who cannot stand for themselves, defend those who can't defend themselves. Seek to bring people back from the darkest depths of despair by acts of kindness and mercy.

Choose your words wisely because as it says, "The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, the heart of the wicked is worth little. The lips of the righteous will feed many, but the fools will die of a lack of sense. Mishle (Proverbs) 10:20 - 21. Your words alone can mean life or death, encouragement or debasement, comfort or hurt. Seek out only those things that will help you speak well when it is needed, and to speak against those things that are wrong. Be a source of light to those who seek assistance, advice, and counsel. Learn how to have an understanding ear, and a strong shoulder. The world is full of hurt, pain, and disdain and there are many who internally and externally are crying out. Be there for them, because it is your duty to God and to your people.

I wish that my father had the chance to give me these kinds of words before he died. Before he died his life was filled with hurt, pain, and loneliness due to his experience in the Vietnam war and on Thanksgiving in 1978 he shot himself. I did not know how he died for years, and when I learned of the story it broke my heart. It broke my heart that he suffered alone with his pain and sorrow and I wished I would have been old enough to save his life and convince him to live. When I lost him I grew up with a deep wound that never fully healed. I longed to have him see me grow up, and in my older years tell me he loved me and he was proud of me. I lived with the pain of knowing that I would never know what it was like to have your father in your life.

This was my pain to bear, but seeing each of you grow up and become the young men and women you have become has healed that pain. Not just for me, but maybe for the soul of my father. Dedicate your lives to being shining examples to the world of who we were and what we stood for. Do not loose site of our faith and our traditions. I have given you all that I have and now you must make your own way with it and do better than me. You must in your own way surpass of us who came before you. I know that with the help of God you can make your own hopes and dreams come true. If you do that then my father's tragic death and my life of hurt due to it would have not been in vain. I overcame my pain so that all of you grow up with a chance to be stronger than any of my generation ever was. Do right by our memory.

I will leave this life with that for you to consider all the days of your life and one request. In 2007 I moved to Israel to return home, and to do something to help our people live up to our destiny. Living here has been my love and life, even when things were in their darkest and our enemies surrounded us. God brought us through and I would not trade my life here for the world.

The Judean Desert near the Dead Sea

I beg of you to bury me in the desert near Jerusalem as close of possible to the Har Ha-Zittim (The Mount of Olives) so that when the days of righteousness come to the earth in the World to Come I can be in the right spot for it.

The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem

That is all I have left, for my day is done, the night has come, and my breath is no more."


It is my hope that before I breath my last I would be able to do what I was not able to receive. To give inspiration to the young who are willing to listen to an old man's last words. I hope by the hand of God that I will have lived my life to deserve such an oppotunity before I breath my last.


Makeda42 said...

Heavens! You look much too young to be saying that you are half-way. You have a lot of life and work ahead of you.

It was an excellent ethical will. May all you pray for come true.

Ehav Ever said...

Hey Makeda. I would say mid-life more than I would half-way. For me mid-life is from 30 to about 47. I am almost 33. It is also a time of transition from the actions and concepts of youth to really considering where the rest of our life is going. That is why in my family we have mid-life awakenings.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Ehav,

First, for someone whose breath is growing short you sure said a lot! (lol)

"Seek out the God of our ancestors, and chase your dreams."

I really love these two directives. Remembering one's ancestors keeps us grounded. And people can get to a point in their lives where they forget to follow their dreams.

Great post!


Wanda said...

Young girls, ignore the images that society paints of how women are to dress act and talk. Guide your ways by Mishle (Proverbs) 31:10-31, and dedicate yourself to be an Eshet Chayil i.e. a Woman of Valor. Spend your days learning from those women who are successful in life, spirit, and love. Latch onto those women who are setting examples for the world, and who are loved by their husbands and children.

love that part! and i think very important in this day and age.

Wanda said...

also ehav. you are so dramatic. I can so tell you put a lot into writing this. its like a screenplay. :)

Ehav Ever said...

MDC - I come from a long winded family. When my grandmother, of blessed memory, passed away she even when they took her off life support she held out for 2 hours until my cousin arrived and said her goodbyes. As soon as my cousin said her goodbyes my grandmother passed.

Wanda - I also come from a very dramatic family. I think we have at least 10 repressed actors. I also watched a lot of deep movies in my youth.