Parshas Vayechi is almost here. We are at Shabbos Parshas Lech-Lecha, and Parshas Vayechi / TEAM Shabbos is really not that far away.
As a rav, as someone involved in kiruv, as a rabbi, I think it's important that we ask ourselves:
How many people in our shul, in our community, really understand the Torah hashkafa, the Torah view, on the value of a moment of life, particularly at a time, in the culture and in the world, where quality of life is what drives the medical community and the medical decisions of many people?
Are we fully prepared -- even if we have the knowledge and we have the understanding -- are we prepared, practically, in case there is a medical emergency?
Do we have a halachic living will, do we have a proxy in place that will be able legally to make decisions for us?
Is there a rav that will answer questions?
Do people in our community even know that there is a need to ask a rav, a rabbi, these shailahs, these questions, and to have the guidance of that rav?
If there is a chevra kadisha within your community — whether it's a shul chevra kadisha or a communal chevra kadisha — is there a need to strengthen their standards, to train them, perhaps to raise standards?
Is there a need to increase the number of people involved in your chevra kadisha?
If you have an older community, are the people in your community aware of the importance of having a place of burial?
What is an appropriate place to be buried: here or in eretz Yisroel, among shomrei Torah u'mitzvos, and cemeteries that allow upright matzeivos? There's issues of mausoleums.
There are so many questions. Are they knowledgeable enough?
Do they have wills that are written halachically?
If they are a younger community, particularly if they are bnei Torah and involved in chinuch, how many of them are properly prepared with life insurance so that if, chas v'shalom, a tragedy strikes, they will have enough to support their families?
How many of them have given thought to their responsibilities to parents that are getting elderly?
What are the parameters of those responsibilities?
If any one of these issues is something that resonates within your community, it's important for you to be part of our Parshas Vayechi program, our TEAM Shabbos program, as one of a group of hundreds of shuls that dedicate this Shabbos to addressing these important issues.
It makes it that much easier for you to be able to address them as well.
If you haven't yet registered, please join us at teamshabbos.org/register.
We will send you the materials.
We also have many resources. Perhaps consider having some kind of a community event within your community, in your city.
We look forward to joining with you and making this year's TEAM Shabbos, this year's Parshas Vayechi, the most powerful one yet.
The Torah perspective on the value of life and its concerns about
illness and death are not easy to talk about.
We’re here to change that.