Respect them when they are alive…writes Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

March 13, 2015 by Rabbi Michoel Gourarie
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I am often puzzled by the following. When someone passes away G-d forbid, especially in tragic circumstances, we often hear genuine expressions of praise and detailed descriptions of the wonderful things that they did and the values that he/she lived by. So the question I have is – Do only good people pass away?

Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

Rabbi Michoel Gourarie

The answer is simple: We all have strengths and weaknesses. We all have amazing parts of our personality and significant things we have achieved. For some reason only after people are gone, we miss and highlight good things.  While they are with us and we take them for granted and tend to highlight the negative rather than the positive. It’s like the well-known experiment – If you present a clean piece of paper with a black dot in the middle, everyone will focus on the dot.

“Respect” exercise No 1:

Think about some of your close relationships (marriage, parents, children, friends etc.). Spend a few minutes each day to think about and highlight a few of the great qualities he/she has. If it’s a relationship that you chose (marriage, friends etc.) remind yourself what it was that attracted you to them in the first place. It might be helpful to have a written list of those qualities and look at them every so often. 

Let’s treasure and respect those close to us when we can.


2 Responses to “Respect them when they are alive…writes Rabbi Michoel Gourarie”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Most people feel they may only say good things about the dead. Even eulogies reflect this. It is a false and artificial situation they create in behaving in this way, as it is far more respectful, and intimate, to represent the deceased person truthfully, yet with kindness and good intent. To do otherwise is to create distance between what that person really was and present an artifice. If you love someone, it’s possible to see their poorer qualities with understanding and even humour. We’re all made up of good and bad qualities.

  2. Roberta Ventura says:

    I have never understood why we commemorate the date that a person dies, rather than celebrate the date on which they came into this world, their birthday.

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