Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Amy Winehouse's Legacy to the Jewish People and the World

It's been in the news for a few days: Amy Winehouse passed away at the age of 27.

They say she was a really talented singer. I've never heard her sing. I guess that I will take their word for it.

And she was a Jew.

Among the things I saw on the web concerned her burial. One writer mentioned the fact that she chose to be cremated, something which is clearly against Jewish law. True, however, I think that there is a more important lesson to be learned from the singer/songwriter's tragic life and death.

Our Torah teaches us to guard our souls (see what the Rambam writes in Hilchot Rotze'ach U'Shmirat HaNefesh ch. 13 and in Hilchot De'ot ch. 4). The whole idea of someone abusing his body with drugs is totally anti-Torah. Rabbi Kook mentions in the first chapter of Orot HaTeshuvah that the sins that one commits against his own body by living an unhealthy lifestyle must also be repented for.

I find it mind boggling that people waste their time and money on drugs. Why do something so destructive? Why not embrace life? There is so much to do, so much to learn. So much good can be done with money when used properly.

If young people will learn from Amy Winehouse's early demise this one precious lesson, that will be her greatest accomplishment.

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