Tragically, I have an incurable disease and have little time left. I have told a number of friends about this and said good-bye to them in an email. In return, I have received a number of emails that were laudatory. My question is am I permitted to collate them in some format and ask someone to read them during my funeral?

  • 1
    my vote, not an answer, is "yes." I say this especially because I have already begun assembling my own and I am, thank god, healthy
    – rosends
    Jun 12, 2013 at 2:21
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    Thank you, Norman, for bringing your question here. That is very sad, and I'm very sorry to hear it. Do you have people that you can talk to? This sounds like a good question to bring to a rabbi that you connect with... It's a very delicate one, and you shouldn't take what you read here as psak. I wish you whatever refuah sheleimah your prognosis allows for, and that things turn out to be better than they presently seem. I hope that this all resolves itself for you and for your family with minimal pain and with maximum comfort.
    – Shimon bM
    Jun 12, 2013 at 2:50

2 Answers 2


I wonder whether you might find the concept of an Ethical Will helpful. The linked article says:

Content of an Ethical Will

The content may not differ from writers of spiritual autobiographies or memoirs, but the intent makes an ethical will unique. “The generic purpose of the ethical will is to pass on wisdom and love to future generations.” Writing can include family history and cultural and spiritual values; blessings and expressions of love for, pride in, hopes and dreams for children and grandchildren; life-lessons and wisdom of life experience; requests for forgiveness for regretted actions; the rationale for philanthropic and personal financial decisions; stories about the meaningful “stuff” for heirs to receive; clarification about and personalization of advance health directives; and requests for ways to be remembered after death.

This might be a way of encouraging your descendants to continue those ways that others have seen fit to praise.

  • This is a nice concept. But it doesn't address the actual question. Jun 18, 2013 at 19:22

We already see from Tanach that there's a serious [collective] punishment for not eulogizing somebody properly. In King David's time they were punished for not eulogizing King Shaul and his sons.

The Halachot of Hesped are codified at the end of Yoreh Deah - and include the following: - One may not exaggerate at a hesped; though some allow a little embellishment. - There's possibly a punishment (for the deceased and/or the Maspid) if a Hesped includes imaginary praises.

Writing one's own Hesped would solve the above trapfalls!

BTW: Many Seforim have an autobiography of sorts - and most of them (of recent vintage) include laudatory letters of approbation; collecting and publishing these seem to be allowed, nay encouraged.

With wishes for a Refu'a Shelemah; only Hashem decides who will pass away and when.

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