[Haveil Havalim is here!]
I don’t know whether I’ve been in denial, or just too busy to think about it, but it finally hit me, just this Shabbos, that I have six weeks remaining in the pulpit rabbinate (at least, for now). That’s six more derashos (sermons, speeches, talks, whatever).
When you know you have only six more opportunities to address a mass audience, what topics do you choose? And in particular, what do you say for the last speech of all?
I’ve had times, during my dozen rabbinic years, when I’ve mentally drafted a parting speech. Those tended not to be the best of moments, though… so I’m starting from scratch here.
I’ve thought about not delivering a derashah that Shabbos. I’ve never done that, never taken a Shabbos ‘off’ like that, so why not take advantage and do it now? Fire me, pal.
I’ve thought about using it for mussar, to speak about things I believe should change within the community, but I can’t think of too many things I’ve omitted over the years, that I would want to include on that last day.
I could make it a personal talk about my own feelings, but, frankly, I do that a lot already.
I could give general life-advice, lessons I’ve learned, but that’s the sort of thing that could come off as rather pompous. Randy Pausch could do it because he was speaking about facing death, and it’s a topic on which he had a personal expertise. It doesn’t work as well for a retiring rabbi speaking about life.
My current inclination is to speak about my regrets – things I didn’t do within the shul/community, that I wish I had done (and maybe someone will do in the future...). Gd knows there’s plenty of material in that topic; I could probably give the next six about that topic, alone.
But what would you do?