Text from ‘behind the final curtain’

Elizabeth Hersh is Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel (TE), and a blogger on the Jewish Light’s website (stljewishlight.com).   Joel Iskiwitch and John DeMott, authors of the  “What can you do?”  sidebar, are congregants at TE.

By Rabbi Elizabeth Hersh

I received a text saying that someone’s car had been impounded and the police were being notified. Did I have any idea of what was happening? I didn’t recognize the number but rather than deleting it, because of the nature of the message, I texted back, “Who is this?” The response was “Your mother for heaven sake.” 

My mother died two and a half years ago. However, reading this message was like an out of body experience. I was tempted to text back a witty reply but rather wrote, “You have the wrong number.”

So much went through my mind as I read those words, “Your mother.” For a brief instance, I thought she was still alive. My mind raced through all the things I would say or ask. It felt like a cruel joke. 

Lately I have been giving the concept of life after death a lot of thought. Sometimes I find myself in discussion with people about their views or needs for an afterlife. Judaism presents a variety of concepts on this topic, yet we stress the idea of living our lives in the present. We strive to perform mitzvoth and to follow the ways of our faith. 

Despite my personal views, I often find myself wanting to reassure people of reunions with loved ones. At the very least, we want a text from, as my late rabbi said, “From Behind the Final Curtain,” to know that all is alright. On the other hand, perhaps one text was enough for me!