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Funereal Inspirations

Yesterday was the start of a Jewish period of mourning that lasts for 3 weeks—it starts with a fast (the Fast of Tammuz 17) and ends with a fast (the Fast of Av 9).  I went to the funeral of Michael Nowak, husband of our student Nancy to be with her and to honor Michael. I left with great inspiration. There is a famous quote from the book of Kohelet-Ecclesiastes: “Better is it for one to attend the house of mourning than to attend a festivity—for this is our common end.”  Is this the musings of a melancholic preacher or sound advice for the soul?

I don’t believe King Solomon (the author of Kohelet) was moribund in his approach to life—though Kohelet is filled with fatalistic philosophy. Funerals, as was Michel Nowak’s, are often the one time in a person’s life that they hear from those who knew them best how much they meant to them—how celebrated a life they lead in the eyes of others. (more…)