The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 11 February 2006 / 13 Shevat 5766

You Cant Take Them With You

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

In preparation for leaving this world a wealthy Orthodox philanthropist who spent his last years in Jerusalem prepared his last will and testament in two sealed envelopes, which he entrusted to his children. His instructions were to open one of the envelopes immediately after his passing and the other after the shiva mourning week.

When the first envelope was opened his survivors were astounded to read, among all the other details, a request that he be buried in his stockings. But when they conveyed this request to the local Chevra Kadisha burial society they were firmly told that there was no way that they could accommodate this wish since it was contrary to custom.

When the shiva was over the second envelope was opened. In it was a letter to the deceased’s children that stated that he was well aware that the Chevra Kadisha would not bury him with his stockings on. He had only made the request to dramatically drive home to his children that when a man leaves this world he cannot even take his stockings with him.

What he did take with him was the merit of all the good he had done with his money for Torah study and the needy.

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