I confess. I have “GoFundMe” fatigue.
I’m not talking about how my inbox gets inundated with requests from dozens of moisdos every December. Or how social media campaigns urging us to contribute to some worthy cause pop up on my feed every week. Chabad institutions rely on the contributions of others to keep the lights on. These campaigns are another manifestation of the incredible power of Chabad’s international network.
I’m referring to another type of fundraising campaign—the type we have seen too frequently. In the past 5 years, Chabad communities across the country have suffered too many untimely deaths of young fathers and mothers ripped away from their families all too soon. They have been Rabbonim, mothers, shluchim, community leaders ad members. They have left behind shattered families and stunned communities.
Sadly, life is not always visibly good. We can’t fathom with our limited intellect how it is good when a mother of young children is stricken with a terminal illness. Or how a beloved teacher not-yet-40 simply does not wake up one morning. The examples go on and on. The Rebbe frequently gave the bracha that Hashem should provide us with “tov hanireh v’hanigleh”—goodness which we can appreciate. Everything Hashem does is good, yet we do not always view it that way. The Rebbe’s bracha stressed that since Hashem has the power to do anything, he can and should help us see the good in His actions.
There is something we all can and should do to protect our families in the event of a tragedy: Buy term life insurance. It is so simple, yet too often overlooked.
Recently at a shiva, I overheard two young community members debating the benefits of a $1M life insurance policy. “Reuven, what good is $1 million if you have seven children?”
“It’s $1 million more than zero”, responded Shimon. Truer words were never spoken!
Nobody wants to acknowledge their demise. There’s an old joke that two things are guaranteed in life—death and taxes. The reality is that we are all on this earth for a limited amount of time. We put in the effort with our accountants and financial advisers to pay our taxes. So why shouldn’t we prepare for the other eventuality? Doing so involves less effort.
A term life insurance policy for a young, healthy male is becoming more and more affordable these days with competitive rates among insurers. An optimal time for a man to purchase term life insurance at cheaper rates is in the newlywed stage— around ages 20 through 30. Marriage involves serious spiritual preparations and the laying of an everlasting foundation. There is no reason why a young man entering into a marriage should not secure some form of basic financial protection for his wife and future children in the event of an untimely death, R”L.
Rabbanim can and should have a role in encouraging our yungerleit to pursue this basic step towards financial responsibility.
There are those who argue that life insurance is cost prohibitive and beyond the means of many young men. Life insurance becomes more expensive with age. A healthy 23-year-old with $500,000 in coverage will not pay the same rate as a 65-year-old with health issues. Term policies before the age of 25 can be purchased for less than $300 per year. Some may find budgeting $25 or so per month beyond their means. The benefits—and consequences of not being insured—far outweigh the annual cost of premiums. The sooner one obtains coverage, the more affordable it is. It is important to act fast.
In the insurance world, there are those who criticize term coverage and prefer more complicated life insurance policies such as whole or universal life. Those interested in having that discussion can do so with a qualified insurance or financial professional. For the purposes of this article, we posit that even those who favor more complicated life insurance policies will agree that term life coverage is better than no coverage at all.
People in our communities are financially stretched. When tragedy strikes, the pressure to raise funds for grieving families is intense and unyielding. Yet, the sad reality is that many do not have the funds to give. People are pressured in shuls and through Charidy campaigns to give money they don’t have to families who have suffered an irreplaceable loss. To those who want to give—kol hakavod to them.
But it is unfair for us to keep expecting our fellow community members to donate and bear the financial burden every time tragedy strikes. New York Life, MetLife, and every other big-name insurance company have no such challenges.
Finally, this article sensitively acknowledges that not everyone is insurable. Some people suffered from childhood illnesses or were born with medical conditions that render them uninsurable. This article is not intended for them. The fact that some cannot obtain insurance should not excuse the majority of young men from procuring basic protections for their families.
Pirkei Avos reminds us that “al korchoch atta chai, v’al korchoch atta meis.” There are no two-minute warnings in life. We are not granted an extension of time to organize and settle our affairs. That is why we must be proactive and organize them in advance.
Buying term life insurance is one small way we can accomplish this goal and protect our families. Those who are already on shlichus or preparing to embark on it can contact the Shluchim Office for information about life insurance for shluchim.
Chassidim and people who are responsible for their families should reach out without delay to a life insurance agent for information about term life policies.
May Hashem have Rachmonus on us and stop allowing tragedies to befall Klal Yisroel in a manner of “Bila Hamoves L’netzach.,” and may we all be zoicheh to a ksiva v’chasima tova.