Strategic Dying

While we’re alive, we have a lot of workshops, education, and professional development on how to do things more strategically.

But, when is the last time you considered a strategy for how to die better?

The other day, I came across this great podcast episode by Dr. Yosefa (Fogel) Wruble on precisely this.

In it, she reflects on how Moses is an exemplar of dying well.

Here are three intriguing reasons she gives, which continue to be instructive and resonant today:

1) Appoint your successor

“One of the biggest gifts that a leader can give to his or her followers, to his or her community, is the clear – very clear – appointment of a successor. We know so many Hasidic sects and groups and different political parties and there’s so much history surrounding the lack of appointment of a successor and whenever I read the number of passages in which Joshua is appointed, it always makes my heart so happy because it’s one of the most basic lessons of leadership: When you’re a leader, learn how to delegate and when you’re done leading, when your time has come to a close, make sure that you find someone who can take your place and who can bring the institution or this group of people into their next era.”

2) Write things down and make them clear

“Writing things down is one of the best ways to ensure that a legacy will persist. The next step after the official handing over of the baton to Joshua is this moment of writing down – of writing down both the legal code and also writing down a poem. And that duality of transmission – of both the prose and the poetry, that we see all over Torah. […] The poem is there to move and to inspire and to add a completely different dimension to the prism of transmission.”

3) Show overlap of the old and the new


“It is both Moses and Joshua who are the ones who give over. Not only is it important to assign your successor, but to also have a brief moment in time where the people see you acting together, where they see a picture, they see a vision, an image of the old and the new together, so that they are also able to transfer that trust and that respect for the older leader and to also have it for the younger leader, that moment where you see the old and the new collide is incredibly powerful.”

The whole half hour podcast is worth a listen. To check it out, click here.

Consider how these aspects of Moses’ death can contribute to more strategic ways of dying better when we integrate them in our communities.

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