Long ago I had written a blog on Ethical will, an ethical will.
An Ethical will (Hebrew: “Zava’ah”) is a document designed to pass ethical values from one generation to the next. Rabbis and Jewish laypeople have continued to write ethical wills during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
I had found the entire concept very intriguing. I cannot find the blog all the same will share what I remember of the concept, I actually did create one I cannot find that either, maybe my values have changed, or my ethics have taken a beating or I have simply lost will. Any way
There could be no better opportunity to share something really beautiful. This is quite similar to a spiritual autobiography or memoirs, but its intent is what sets it apart. Since the purpose of this is to pass on the wisdom and love to the future generation. It kind of includes family history, cultural and spiritual values, blessings and expression of love, pride, hopes and dreams for children and grandchildren. Since it deals with life-lessons there could be requests for forgiveness, or regrets over decisions,what ever the right thinks is relevant to the person he is handing the legacy to. Since it has very little to do with its heavily regulated cousin the last will and testament, it is called a legacy letter or a spiritual letter.
It is the simplest form to share your values, beliefs, life lessons, love and forgiveness, this is actually a 3,500 legacy though lesser known. Its construction has no rigidity to it. it does not require a lawyer, what makes it interesting is that it puts down what is important to the narrator, the historic legacy, the legacy of learning , family secrets recipes, hidden skeletons what ever.
There are people who write these down as letters to be handed down to their children during the key events of their lives. I remember my father handing me one during my graduation.
If you would like to try your hand at it, a simple way of doing it is take a blank sheet and put down things like
- Is there a particular success you have that you want to share with your descendents?
- Any failures and the lesson learnt from it.
- Any regrets in life.
- Any tradition or value you want to see is continued in the family.
The indian tradition of Mahalaya asks the names of three generations of family members since the brahmanical culture is patriarchal we are stuck with that lineage while the rest of the genetic contributors are forgotten. It might be a great idea to put in the names of all the eight great grandparents. In this era of dysfunctional society, tracing family lineage has become a profession.
Since the ethical will is inspired by the need to communicate a personal story or a journey one is free to walk the path. Like when my Aunt Eileen passed away she left a book, with hand indian recipes hand written by my grandmother. When my grandmother passed away we found neat folders of letters my brother and I had written to her,her observations and comments regarding that. A recipe to create a hydroponic garden.
What I am saying it is okay to include anything, family photographs, recipes, items of clothing, other objects with great personal but not necessarily commercial value. it is also a great place to share the intentions of bequeaths made in the legal will, so that there would be less confusion and bad feelings.
So when you think it is the right time in your life, sit down think of what you would like to pass on to the future generation, this could be an ongoing experiment. Put in your significant moments and just flow.