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Pirkei Avot 2:10 – What if tomorrow is your last day?


Pirkei Avot 2:10

הֵם אָמְרוּ שְׁלשָׁה דְבָרִים. רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר אוֹמֵר, יְהִי כְבוֹד חֲבֵרְךָ חָבִיב עָלֶיךָ כְּשֶׁלָּךְ, וְאַל תְּהִי נוֹחַ לִכְעֹס. וְשׁוּב יוֹם אֶחָד לִפְנֵי מִיתָתְךָ…

They [each] said three things: Rabbi Eliezer said: Let the honor of your friend be as dear to you as your own; And be not easily provoked to anger; And repent one day before your death…

When another person receives honor, it can make us jealous, but if we remember that each person receives what he needs and deserves, we should be glad that the other person receives honor. G-d provides what is best for each individual. That applies to everything, including honor, health, and salary. As a result, there is no cause for us to be envious of another individual.

Be tough, breathe in and out, count to ten, but don’t let your wrath flare up. It frequently backfires and causes us to commit other sins in addition to being furious. According to the rabbis,[1] anger causes one to sin and forget one’s Torah learning.

Furthermore, if we control our wrath toward our neighbor, G-d will control His anger even if we make a mistake.

Knowing when we are going to die can cause us to become inert and do nothing meaningful in this world. After all, what’s the sense of planting a tree if we never see it grow? That is why we never know when we will die.

Knowing you’re going to die causes us to reflect on our lives and what we’ve done, and we regret what we would and/or could have done better. We wish to put everything in order, settle old squabbles, and apologize to our neighbor and to G-d.

If we know we are not going to die, we may be excessively busy with material pleasures rather than good actions, putting them off until tomorrow. Tomorrow, I’ll settle the argument, tomorrow, I’ll provide money to…

Of course, no one knows how he will respond when he realizes he will die the next day.My neighbor’s death date and time were known to me. It was a bizarre day, and everything you could encounter in the world on that day played a significant role in my mind. What if I died tomorrow at that time? This would be my last sunset, my last chance to see the birds fly, my last chance to smell the flowers…everything I felt profoundly. This intensity inspires fear and awe for G-d, making genuine repentance for transgressions easier and richer.

Every day of our existence, we should want to feel the richness that inspires dread and awe in G-d.

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] English Explanation of Pirkei Avot 2:10:2


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