Recently I unfortunately have had a number of occasions to be involved in the sugya of "death". What is the Jewish approach?
I came across an excellent article in Hadarom [65, by Rav Betzalel Naor Shlita, great Talmid Chochom and father in law of my dear beloved friend Dori Binyamin Ben Yeruba'al Tzvi]: The Rambam says in the thirteenth perek of hilchos avel that one who mourns too much is a fool. Death is part of life [minhago shel olam]. Rather he should mourn as the halacha dictates and then get on with it. Then the Rambam turns around and says that if someone dies it behooves all those around him to search their deeds and do teshuva and if they don't they are cruel because a lack of introspection will just make more terrible things happen.
But wait! T.O. coach!! You just told me that it is minhago shel olam? Nothing out of the ordinary? So why the need to press the internal search button [computer mashal!:)]?
We are multi-dimensional people and we must also look at the world in multi-dimensional ways. We must realize that it is the nature of the world that people die and not allow ourselves to become overwhelmed. But we must ALSO understand that there is something tragic and earthshaking in the death of a human being and quickly do some teshuva so that it doesn't happen so frequently and that when it does, our neshamos will be ready. With enough teshuva, death indeed will one day be eradicated from the earth. [See the whole article.]
Rav Yisroel Salanter says that many people are under the impression that there is a chevre geshtorbenners [a society of people who die], but we are not members of this exclusive group.
Ahhhh sweetest tyere fryndlech, we are ALL members of this group. This means that we must live today as if it our last and remove ourselves from all the nonsense of this world and focus on what is real. As the Rebbe says in the B'nei Machshava Tova הרחק את עצמך מן הבטלה הרחק כמטחוי קשת
Stay miles away from wasting time. There are SOOOOO many good productive things to do.
Let's do them!
Love and blessings!:)
PS - a BIG yashar koach to Reb Shmulie on the "Machshava Tova" of starting this blog. It is nice when Jews have a chaburah whose express purpose is enhancing their Avodas Hashem. The Rebbe created such group in his lifetime and it is a great elevation for his soul that we continue. I have my own blog but I feel that the message is strengthened when we have the koach hatzibbur of the other distinguished members of the chaburah. Tzibbur is an acronym for tzaddikim, benoyniyim and reshoim. In the meantime all I see [besides myself] are tzaddikim....
Inspired by Reb Kalonymos Kalman's ideal of a group of people coming together with the common goal of enhancing their service of God, increasing their sensitivity to all things spiritual, strengthening their love of acheinu kol beis Yisrael, and unlocking the enormous potential that we all have to cleave to the Almighty.
Interaction and discussion of practical ideas and concepts toward this end, culled from any Torah true source is welcome and appreciated.
Observations and personal experiences are also welcome; the point is to grow!