From my Grandpa Eddie, I learned the importance of enjoying life with your family. Instead of hoarding his money and leaving us a bigger inheritance, he and Grandma Esther decided that they would rather see their grandkids having fun and bonding. They sent us all to Jewish summer camps and spent regular time with us.
My Dad and Mom do the same, taking the family – especially when the kids were younger – on big family trips such that today all the cousins have strong connections one to the other.
My parents have also passed onto us (and continue to do so) the important of mishpacha (family), tikkun olam (social activism), kehilla (being part of a community), ahavat yisrael (love of Israel), and more.
This Shabbat we read from the first parasha (portion) in the book of Devarim (or Deuteronomy), the final of the 5 Books of Moses. Taken together, the words of Devarim represents Moses’ final teaching to the children of Israel, before he goes off to die and they continue on under Joshua’s leadership and enter the Promised Land. Sometimes we see Devarim as one long sermon – filled with stories and retellings of the past, hopes and warnings, songs and poems. It is as if Moses, aware that he is about to die, wants to point the way forward to ensure that his peeps survive long into the future.
Some years ago I wrote an ethical will to my children, articulating those values and ideals that I wanted them to know I held dear. My parents continually share their wisdom in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.This wisdom, imparted in big ways and small, form a Torat Horim (the teachings of my parents) that continue to influence me today – in big ways and small. What is the wisdom that your parents or grandparents bequeathed to you?