Honorable Mensch-ion


I recently officiated a memorial service of a man who was an antique dealer. As he started his business, he would place ads in newspapers around the country and set up a telephone number in cities across the United States, searching for memorabilia, furniture, and other antiques that people were discarding. His children told me that his home and store were filled from floor to ceiling with material possessions that were truly treasures. His clients included royalty from around the world.

What is an antique? It is defined as a physical possession that has high value due to its increased age.

Yet, an antique in Judaism has a different definition. Rav Kook explained, hayashan yitchadesh vhechadash yitkadesh: The old shall be renewed, and the renewed shall become sacred. The ideal antique of a Jew is the soul, and what we do with that soul determined the value in our lives. When our matriarch Sarah passes away, Abraham purchases a burial plot in the city of Hebron, which today is called Ma’arat Hamachpela. It is the burial place for many of our ancestors. Yet, it is much more than an eternal resting place. It is a symbol of rebirth, for when you visit a cemetery, you not only visit a life that was, but you envision the lift that will be. We keep antiques because they have sentimental values. We keep the legacy of our souls because it creates the purpose of our lives. Each Shabbat is a moment to renew the old, and each Shabbat is a moment to make the new holy again.

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