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The Future is Now and Forever

Friday, 13 November, 2020 - 12:45 pm

I recently read an interview with Michael J. Fox, whose foundation has raised nearly one billion dollars for Parkinson’s research. He was talking about his new book is entitled The Future is Now, and this quote jumped out at me. “The good thing is that there’s always a future. Until there isn’t. The future is the last thing you run out of. The moment until you shut down you’ve got a future, and then you don’t.”

Clearly his intent is that one must make the most of the present thereby ensuring that one’s future is meaningful and productive. (All a play on the “Back to the Future” concept.) This is a powerful message coming from a person that has successfully battled a debilitating disease for three decades. Each of us can take some inspiration from his rallying cry.

Yet, as I read the quote, something left me with a sense of discomfort. I thought about it and then realized that what bothered me was the notion that at the moment of death one ceases to have a future. Contrast that with the name of this Parsha – Chayei Sarah – the Life of Sarah, which opens with her passing, and yet is called “The Life of Sarah.” Our sages derive from this, that the righteous even in death are considered alive. How is this so? Because their lives are not defined solely by their physical accomplishments and presence, rather, their lives are primarily defined by the spirit. It is the message and example of faith and love and awe of Hashem along with caring for others, that lives on long after their physical death.

Sarah our matriarch passed away nearly 4,000 years ago, and yet millions, if not billions, of people continue to live with and be inspired by her exemplary life. Little children are familiar with her life story as if she were a grandmother living in their homes. Adults analyze and try to find applications from her wise words as though they had just heard her speak them on a Zoom event last night.

So to reframe the quote, “The good thing is that there’s always a future. And then there continues to be. The future is the thing you never run out of. The moment until you shut down you’ve got a future, and then you continue to have one.” The only condition for achieving this is that you have to live the kind of life that lives on even after it is over. The Future is Now, and forever.

This weekend, Shluchim, emissaries of the Rebbe worldwide are joining in a virtual Kinus – conference. The Kinus is usually held in person and includes the largest sit down kosher dinner in New York City. This year, the pandemic has moved the Kinus online. As always, we invite you, our communities and friends, to join us for the Virtual Grand Event, scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday (CST). You can watch it at www.chabadneworleans.com/kinus.

Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

 

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