Looking for happiness in all the wrong places


by Rabbi Benjamin Blech

Sukkot is here and the search is over.

This past spring one of Hollywood’s most iconic figures passed away.

Elizabeth Taylor will always be remembered for her legendary beauty. Surely her claim to fame is not as a philosopher. Yet, some years ago, she responded to an event in her life with an insight that deserves to be remembered for its profound truth.

Remarkably enough, it is an idea that perhaps best captures the purpose of the holiday of Sukkot which follows immediately on the heels of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Thieves had broken into her safety deposit box. They stole a considerable amount of expensive jewelry. Reporters asked her after she learned of her loss: “Did you cry?” Her answer was simple: “I don’t cry for things that won’t cry for me!”

“I don’t cry for things that won’t cry for me!” In Jewish tradition, there’s a saying that during our lifetimes we have three main friends — and when we die, they leave us in exactly the reverse order in which we treated them. No sooner does our soul leave our body, than all of our wealth flees with it as well. Families are more faithful. They walk with us after our passing to the cemetery, our final resting place. Then, they too leave us to go on with their lives. It is only our name, the good deeds we performed for others, and the influence we may have had upon them, that outlive us and offer us a share of immortality.

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