You may recognize the first line above as the refrain in the song, “Turn, Turn, Turn.” As sung by the American folk rock group The Byrds, it became an international hit in 1965. The lyrics come from Chapter Three in the Bible’s Book of Ecclesiastes, almost verbatim in the King James version.
Reading the twelve chapters of Ecclesiastes, I’m struck by a sense of world-weariness in the writer. Writing of work, youth, age, riches, enjoyment, vanity, fools, poverty, wisdom, and death, three themes emerge:
- We toil our lives away under the sun. The phrase, “there is nothing new under the sun,” is right there in Chapter One. But our most important work is done in the dark – internally.
- All of our worldly achievements are vanity, a grasping for the wind. “… for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.” The work of our hands will not endure for long.
- Wisdom is powerful, and our wisdom can endure beyond the days of our lives.
What is an Ethical Will?
In a Last Will and Testament, the Ethical Will was the Testament portion of this important end-of-life planning document. An Ethical Will enables us to speak words of truth before the end of our days on earth. We can share what life lessons we’ve learned in this lifetime. We can pass along our values and wisdom to our loved ones and the world.
The writing of Ethical Wills is fostered in Judaism. When adults reach the age of 50, they are considered elders of the congregation with enough life experience to dispense words of wisdom. Many synagogues have a program that invites 50+ individuals to study Ecclesiastes, write their own Ethical Will, and read it aloud to the congregation at a special Sabbath service during the fall harvest festival, Sukkot.
Next week, death educator Gail Rubin, CT, will present “Your Ethical Will: What life lessons do you want to share?” The talk will take place on July 31, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Montecito Santa Fe, 500 Rodeo Road, Santa Fe, NM. Estate planning attorney Jim Plitz with Morris Hall, PLLC will also speak about aspects of a legal will.
Come and learn how to write your own Ethical Will at this presentation in Santa Fe!
RSVP for this free event to Rhonda Royce at Morris Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org.