One of the more shocking realities about the arrival of Jews and others at concentration camps was the way that they were duped into relinquishing all of their worldly possessions. In some cases, internees were told that goods were being held for them; in other cases, they were simply seized.
This reality caused me to wonder about those items that I would choose to keep if I were forced to reduce all of what I own to five items. As I live in a home with three bedrooms, two offices, kitchen, dining and living rooms, the question is a complicated one. But the more I contemplated it, the more educational the question and answer became.
Before I go too far into my answer, I submit this to you as an exercise in determining what is most important to your life. The chances are good that these will be among the possessions that you treasure when you leave the earth; as a result, they will necessarily define and refine you.
Will they be items that you bought yourself or that were given to you? Will they be of substantial material value or strictly sentimental or nostalgic? To be sure, the number five could just as easily be ten or twenty and you would be faced with the same dilemma.
If you are at all like me, you will make a choice and quickly change it. Or you may make one decision immediately, followed by several that are not quite as clearly determined. It really becomes an interesting exercise. In my case, the entire process has to do with my mom, husband, kids and grandkids.
Those who opt out of the activity are entirely welcome to do so – no harm, no foul. But I strongly suggest that it’s an illuminating exercise. As of this writing, I have concluded that mine are a picture of my kids and grandkids; a large cut glass vase of great value to my mom; a necklace made from her wedding ring and – two that are still being considered. Take your time. You will likely find out more about yourself than you expected. Shalom.