I’m Inspired to write to you today after reading an article in the NYT about Rabbi Kenneth Berger who 30 years ago delivered a Yom Kippur sermon to his congregants about the tragedy of the Challenger explosion, and the fact that all of the members on board were totally conscious as they raced toward the Ocean.
The rabbi spoke eloquently wondering what thoughts ran through the minds of the astronauts as they plunged into the sea. He asked his congregants to imagine themselves with only five minutes to live and he encouraged them to imagine what that would be like, but he didn’t stop there.
The Rabbi’s words…
“And then the capsule hits the water, it’s all over, can you realize it’s all the same. Five minutes, five days, 50 years, is all the same and it’s over before we realize it. If only I knew, yes my friends it may be the last time, if only I realized. Yes, stop, appreciate the blessings you have. If only I could, but YOU can, you still have today.”
The Rabbi, his wife and 110 people died in a plane crash three years after the sermon was delivered.
If spring is the time for renewal, then perhaps autumn and winter are times for reflection and rectification.
And so I ask of you,
What will you do with your five minutes?
Your five hours, your five years, the rest of your life?
How can you live more in appreciation for what you have been given instead of bemoaning what you don’t have?
Where are you called to help build a bridge to peace?
What relationships can you work to heal?
How can you honor yourself and others?
How can you serve humanity more?
You have been given five more minutes to live and it starts now!