If there is a moment in the whole Aseret Yemei teshuva, the 10 days of repentance, that can explain the passion and the love that we have for our past, for our predecessors, for our tradition, that is the time of Yizkor.
Yizkor is probably the highest expression of our devotion.
Yizkor is that special time of the year when the space is filled with so many feelings and so many emotions.
So today I wanted to share with you some news. Probably not just news but… fake news.
A couple of months ago I was shocked to see in a newspaper an interview with Ringo Starr, the drummer of the Beatles talking about Paul McCartney’s death. Ringo explained that the “real” Paul McCartney had died in a car crash on November 9, 1966, after an argument during a Beatles’ recording session.
To spare the public from grief, the Beatles replaced him with a man named William Shears Campbell, who was the winner of a McCartney look-alike contest and who happened to have the same kind of jovial personality as Paul.
“When Paul died, we all panicked!” claimed Ringo, obviously very emotional. “We didn’t know what to do, and Brian Epstein, our manager, suggested that we hire Billy Shears, the look alike, as a temporary solution. It was supposed to last only a week or two, but time went by and nobody seemed to notice, so we kept playing along. Billy turned out to be a pretty good musician and he was able to perform almost better than Paul”. “We wanted to tell the world the truth, but we were afraid of the reactions it would provoke. We thought the whole planet was going to hate us for all the lies we had told, so we kept lying, while sending subtle clues to relieve our conscience. When the first rumors finally began about the whole thing, we felt very nervous and started fighting a lot with each other. At some point, it was too much for John and he decided to leave the band.”
Ringo Starr claimed that he finally decided to tell the truth because he was afraid that it was going to die with him. At age 74, he was the only other surviving member of the famous band besides “Paul McCartney”, and he was afraid the deception would never be revealed.
You probably heard of this story before and you all know that this is fake news.
This is fake news not just because the story itself is not true, but because every human being is unique and nobody can be replaced by another human being.
The story of the death of Paul McCartney is not true, it is myth, an urban legend, but that is not the point…
Even less true is the fact that a person can be replaced. This is fake news.
When you lose someone you love, you know nobody can fill that vacuum.
Yizkor service is an act of protest against Fake news.
Yizkor is the expression that tomorrow is not going to be better, it is going to be different, just different, not better, because the person we love is gone.
Yizkor is the manifestation that the pain that we feel when our loved ones are no longer with us reflects how much love we still feel for them.
It hurts because we still love them.
We remember them because we still love them.
Close your eyes and see that moment when your dad stopped breathing, and his neshama departed.
Think of that moment when you heard the phone ringing and someone was on the other side of the line tell you about your mother’s passing.
I am sure we all wished those would have been fake news.
Fake news would have been if we had come today and had said that we were able to replace them.
Fakes news would have been if we had forgotten them.
But we have not.
We cannot forget them, we cannot replace them.
Yizkor is the moment when we realize nobody can replace them and also nobody can replace us.
Yizkor is the time when we realize how unique we are and nobody can replace us.
We all have a mission in this world and nobody can do it for us.
Yizkor is the time when we realize that our time is limited, but we can leave marks in others’ lives, because nobody can replace us, nobody can be us.
No life can be replaced with another life. If someone says the contrary, it is fake news.
Nobody can replace those who gave us love.
Yizkor is the time when we bring them back to life in our memories.
You can feel them closer. You can talk to them but you know you cannot replace them.
One of the most famous songs of Paul McCartney says the following:
But if this ever changin’ world
In which we live in
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let die
Live and let die”
The time of Yizkor is when we acknowledge that our loved ones are gone. Live and let die.
By moving on we will honor their memories because nobody can ever replace them.
Yizkor service starts on page 290