An Ethical Will

Editor’s Comment

I read with interest the article by Rabbi Greg Alexander in our June edition about the need for everyone to give consideration to drafting an Ethical Will.

He said that, “Instead of letting your heirs know who gets the stuff, an Ethical Will lets them know what you believe. What is important to you, and what you want them to know after you are no longer around. What are your values, what wisdom have you learned in your life and what guidance would you want to give to the generations who come after you?”

His words came to mind on two occasions after I first read his article: both relate to the passing of a leader. One was Cape Town’s own Bennie Rabinowitz, while the other was the former Prime Minister of Italy, Silvio Berlusconi.

A glance at the news headlines when each of them departed this life makes it clear who could write an Ethical Will of substance.

As many of us know, Bennie Rabinowitz, a person of strong conscience, stood out for his incredibly good deeds and for his concern for his fellow human beings. The news headlines reflect this: “’Utterly unique, generous spirit’: Social justice lawyer Bennie Rabinowitz dies aged 89” and “Ben Rabinowitz: a South African Mensch who transformed lives”.

Contrast this with these headlines: “Silvio Berlusconi, Italy leader mired in scandal, dies at 86”; “Silvio Berlusconi: Former Italian PM plagued by tax fraud and ‘bunga bunga’ sex scandals dies aged 86”; and “Italians bid farewell — and good riddance — to Silvio Berlusconi”.

Whose example would you choose to follow?

• Published in the July 2023 issue – Click here to start reading.

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