RBG, My Father, and the Future

This is the final Rosh Hashanah post for the year and it deals with the future, particularly a spiritual take on my future.

I’ve thought about death all weekend. First, because Ruth Bader Ginsburg, one of my heroes and a truly good person, died at the beginning of the holiday. Second, because this is my father’s birthday month and I always think about his life and death during the High Holidays.

I’ve cried this weekend, but I cry around this time of year every year. The High Holidays always feel like a bit of a gut punch. This year my fellow Jews felt the same and we joined in a chant of mourning for a woman who exemplified accomplishment, goodness, justice, and gracious kindness.

When we lose someone we love or respect, I think it is our duty to take upon ourselves part of their burden of fixing the world. This is why I send money to organizations that feed people for my father’s birthday each year. He can no longer cook for people in life, so I will do what I can as his agent into the future.

I know what burden I am picking up that my father left undone. There are millions of people who need food. There are millions of people who need a bit of help. I can be that. I can carry that forward through everyday actions and through donations to worthy organizations. And, I do.

But what portion of the great burden that Ginsburg laid down do I pick up? She stood for justice, for respect for opponents, for high culture, for equal rights for all people and so many more things. As I look over the jumble of an inheritance of blessings that we are sharing out amongst the tribe (and beyond our tribe), which portion is mine?

I think I am going to start with the grace she modeled (alongside Scalia) of seeing people who disagreed with her not as enemies but as people of equal value to herself who need persuasion to join her. We are walking through fire and flood (literally, in some places). We need each other more than ever.

Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This blessing is pretty light and not as difficult as some of the other burdens she laid down. Perhaps I will need to pick up more pieces in the future but right now this is what I can handle in my life, so this is what I will take.

May your burdens be blessings, friends. Be well.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Sandra Greenberg says:

    My dear daughter Carolyn

    First off I really must say that I am so proud of you not just because you were my daughter and my friend but because of the way you and Steve conduct your lives.

    You are truly what is lnown as a tzzadiic
    and a Mench.

    I love u very much and am proud to be your mother.

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