OUR DAUGHTERS ASK: In his farewell addresses, Moses bequeaths to future generations teachings, laws, admonitions, blessings, and the inspiring example of his life. What can we leave behind for our children that can possibly compare with that legacy?
OUR MOTHERS ANSWER: One of the most extraordinary legacies we have is the tradition of the ethical will, a document in which we pass on to our children our own “Torah,” the wisdom and advice of a lifetime…One of the most famous of these memoirs was written by Gluckel of Hameln (1646-1724), a twice-widowed mother of thirteen whose business aptitutde supported her fmaily while she was a live and whose sage advice continues to inspire us after her death.– Ellen Frankel, The Five Books of Miriam
Frankel includes an excerpt from Gluckel’s memoir. The same excerpt, called “the story of the father and the baby birds,” is available at the Jewish Heritage Online Magazine. Other excerpts are available from JHOM and from
“Other Women’s Voices”
For more on ethical wills see Jewish Virtual Library or My Jewish Learning.