Yesterday, on the walk home from shacharit (Morning prayer), a friend of mine got a phone call. He got bad news, it was obvious by his reaction.
This morning, when hashcavot (prayer for the deceased) were being read, the name (חן בן של תמר, Chen the son of Tamar) he had been saying the past few years during the prayer for the sick had suddenly been added to the unfortunate list.
I asked him after shacharit what had happened. Shortly after his Bar Mitzvah, Chen felt tremendous head pain during a footy match. He told his dad and within days, devastating news was revealed. 3 years later, this 16.5 year old kid succumbed to cancer.
I didn't know Chen, nor do I know his family, but this news hit me hard. No warning, nothing. Stories like these really hurt me. We're fragile beings, and one day we're well, the next day we're gone. They're tragic reminders that we must enjoy the 'now' for we don't know what's coming from around the corner. It's sad that it takes this kind of alarm bell to help us realize the importance of appreciating one's family, health and lot. שלא נדע ...