Imagine being trapped on the top floor of a burning house. As the flames creep closer, you look outside the window and see members of your congregation gathered below. They're looking up at you and praying that you make it out alive. But you know there is no way that you will escape death. If you had only one message for them about your religion or your religious experience that you absolutely had to impart to them, what would it be in 150 words or less?
While not certain that a valedictory message would be my uppermost priority at such a time, I would want to depart as I had lived: as a teacher. One of Judaism's most singular contributions is that of hope in a better tomorrow, and in commending that vision to my last audience I would emulate Moses.
When the great Lawgiver was about to return home to God, he charged Joshua as his successor with the words: "I encourage you and strengthen you."