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You can’t take it with you

In synagogues around the world this week, Jews read from the Torah about the exodus from Egypt. The Egyptians believed you could take it with you, that your material possessions accompanied you into the next world. Much of Jewish practice is essentially anti-Egyptian. It is life-oriented rather than death-oriented. Religious Jews do not embalm and are buried in a simple wooden coffin, in a simple shroud, about as far as you can get from a pyramid.

More importantly, Judaism emphasized that what you take into the next world aren’t your material possessions, but rather your deeds and their legacy. Whether you are a believer or not, it is hard to overstate the importance of this cultural belief in shaping our world.


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