By Chanita Teitz

Last Shabbos was the National Association of Chevra Kadisha TEAM (Traditional End of Life Awareness Movement) Shabbos. As I was reading about these issues, which most of us don’t want to think about, I realized that appropriately it was taking place on Shabbos Parashas Vayechi when Yaakov Avinu made end-of-life requests and preparations.

First, Yakov asked his sons to bury him in the land of Israel and not in Mitzrayim where they were living. The sons had assured him that they were united in the belief in Hashem and that there was no more rivalry between them. The last thing any parent wants is to have disagreement and family strife regarding inheritance. Yaakov felt assured that his sons would pass on his teachings and those of his father and grandfather to future generations.

Then Yaakov gathered his sons to bless them and essentially give them his last will and testament. Each son was blessed according to his capabilities and strengths with some mussar about his weaknesses. Yaakov understood that each son was unique and could contribute his special talents to Klal Yisrael. We need to keep this in mind when raising our own children, and teachers must realize that in the average class of 30 children, there are 30 individuals who must be taught al pi darko.

In those days, a person knew his children would take care of burial and any other issues that needed to be handled. Today things are more complicated. Government gets involved, and when the government gives greater authority to doctors and hospitals, our rights are challenged. That’s why it is so important to have a will or trust and a healthcare proxy in place.

Secularism, having taken over the left, is not sensitive to religious convictions. Quality of life trumps life itself, and who decides what quality of life is? We must be vigilant in how much we allow government to get involved in private matters.

We should continue to daven for all the injured in the past weeks’ terrorist attacks. They should have a refuah sheleimah. And just as we come together in national tragedies, we should remember the complete unity of the shevatim when they declared to Yaakov, “Shema Yisrael,” and learn to work out our differences peacefully, with harmony and unity.

Upcoming Events

The Kalever Rav is coming to Queens.

  • Thursday, December 27, 5–9 p.m. at the Young Israel of Hillcrest, 169-07 Jewel Avenue; Jamaica Estates
  • Sunday, December 30, 1–4 p.m. at Congregation Bet El, 180-01 Union Tpke; Fresh Meadows
  • Sunday, December 30, 4:30–9:30 p.m. at Beit Eliyahu, 71-52 172nd St.; Forest Hills
  • Monday, December 31, 4:30–9:30 p.m. at Beth Gavriel, 66-35 108th St.; KGH
  • Tuesday, January 1, 1–4 p.m. at Od Yosef Chai, 141-56 73rd
  • Tuesday, January 1, 4:30–9:30 p.m. at Young Israel of KGH, 70-11 150th St.

For more information, call 718-384-9877 or email

Kumsitz with Zusha on Saturday night, December 29 at 8 p.m. at Congregation Ner Mordechai, 82-33 Lefferts Blvd, Kew Gardens. Presented by Chazaq and Ner Mordechai. Free admission. Men and women welcome; invite teen and collegiate young men and women. Special thanks to Eric Ulrich for funding this event. For more information, call 718-285-9132, email, or visit

A Night of Inspiration with R’ Paysach Krohn, R’ YY Rubenstein, R’ Ilan Meirov, R’ Menachem Nissel, and Chief Bukharian Rabbi Yitzchak Yisraeli on Monday, December 31. Light buffet at 8 p.m. and program at 8:30 p.m. at Beth Gavriel, 6635 108th St., Flushing. Presented by Chazaq and Beth Gavriel Community Center. Food sponsored by Soysauce. Free admission; men and women welcome. For more information, call 718-285-9132, email, or visit

Chanita Teitz is a real-estate broker at Astor Brokerage in Kew Gardens Hills, serving the entire Queens vicinity. For all your real-estate needs, call her at 718-263-4500 or email


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