Sunday, October 13, 2013

buy life insurance

This unbelievable and touching story has been posted and reposted today. The sum of remarks was that this man's life is inspiring. While this is true, my first reaction to it was: he did not have life insurance! ( Caveat: I do not know how life insurance works in Israel, but I assume it is similar enough to the States). Therefore, his poor widow, in addition to coping with his death, now faces a life of financial struggle. She will have to rely on chesed of others instead of her husband doing chesed to her and their children, and providing the family with income, in case of his demise.

Many years ago, when we have been married just two years, with a brand-new baby, still struggling financially, our next-door neighbor dropped dead. He was our age, and the couple had been also newly married. It was shocking, it was terrible, and I had all these questions. My older and wiser friend was there to talk to me, but one of the first things she told me to do, to insure ourselves from just such a loss, is to buy life insurance. Now, we had no money. We were totally on our own, and there were bills to pay, and we were young, and how could something so morbid be a priority...

We pinched, went without silver candlesticks, and bought life insurance. I did not even get such a great rate, due to some health issues, but at least I knew that if, G-d forbid something would happen to either me or my husband, our children would be provided for.

A year later, another friend told me a sad tale of a father of many kids who just died, and now the community was straining and scrambling to provide for the family. My automatic response was: buy life insurance.

Today's story is no different. It is wonderful that this guy was such an incredible baal tzedakah (charitable giver), it is humbling to think what he went without to provide for others, and it is beautiful that he touched so many people. But doesn't tzedakah start at home? I wish that he was not such a thrifty guy, and spent some of his money on life insurance. We all would like to think that we will live forever, or, at least, until a ripe golden age. Unfortunately, that does not always happen. Why add to the tragedy of being taken when still young with additional monetary strain on your loved ones?

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