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    How will you die? – Re’eh

    The Torah portion tells us to see the choice God offers us between life and death, blessing and curse. Let me illustrate the choice with a story.

    Yosef of Navardok said that what turned him from a career as a merchant to teaching mussar (ethics) was an incident in a train.

    For days he had been away from home on business. The weather was wintry and the winds biting, and the train had no heating. He was sitting uncomfortably in a freezing cold carriage when the old man opposite him started a conversation.

    Yosef explained that he was a merchant and had to do a lot of travelling. “Do you get any time for reading or thinking?” asked the old man.

    “Hardly,” he replied; “I am on the move all the time!”

    “I went through a similar stage when I was young,” said the old man.

    “Please learn from my experience. Take my advice: spend less time with your business and more with your books, less time with your customers and more with yourself.”

    “Very nice,” said Yosef, “but how shall I live?”

    “Quite right,” said the old man, “but how will you die?”

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