Collect Merits, Not Assets

As my father’s yartzeit nears, I think back to last November when my then 3-year old daughter asked, “Where is Saba?” As is the Jewish way, I answered her question with one of my own: “Do you remember how come you couldn’t come to my wedding to Mommy?” I asked. “Because I was still in shamayim,” she responded. To which I replied: “That’s where Saba is now. When babies are born, they come down from shamayim. But after many years, Hashem misses them and wants them to come home. So he brings them back to shamayim.”

A simplistic answer adequate for a child who misses her grandfather, but in reality, the journey of the soul from shamayim, to human form, and back again is a fundamental article of our faith. Every morning we say the bracha of “Elokai neshama” in which we acknowledge that “Hashem, you implanted a soul within me, and in the future, You will take it back.”

Every journey has a purpose – to get from point A to point B. No one wanders aimlessly. So if life is a journey of the soul, what is its purpose? As a mourner more prone to introspection, I contemplated this question, and found meaningful answers in the words of our sages.

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