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The Wisdom of Israel, by Edwin Collins, [1910], at


King Solomon has said: The day of one's death is better than that of his birth.

When a human being is born all rejoice, and when he dies all weep. But it should not be so. Rather, at one's birth no one has yet cause to rejoice; for no one knows to what future the babe

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is born, what will be the development of his intellect or of his soul, and by what works he will stand; whether he will be a righteous man or a wicked man, whether he will be good or evil; whether good or evil will befall him. But when he dies, then all ought to rejoice if he has departed leaving a good name, and has gone out of this world in peace.

This may be likened, in a parable, to two ships that set out to sail upon the great ocean. One of them was going forth from the harbour, and one of them was coming into the harbour. And every one was cheering the ship that set sail from the harbour, and rejoicing, and giving it a joyous send-off.

But over the ship that came into the harbour no one was rejoicing.

There was a wise man there who said: "I see a reason for the very opposite conduct to yours. You ought not to rejoice with the ship that is going out of the harbour, for no one knows what will be her fate; how many days she will have to spend on the voyage, and what storms and tempests she will encounter. But as to the ship that has arrived safely in port, all should rejoice with her, for she has returned in peace."

Midrash Koheleth on Eccles. VII.

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