It all started in 1991. I was in a helicopter and we had just lifted 50 feet above the ground. At the same time, a small plane was taking off with an instructor and his student. We collided. Our helicopter crashed to the tarmac. But the plane exploded. Its two passengers were killed. I woke up in the hospital, tormented by a wave of guilt – why did those two young people die? Why was I alive? That haunted me. And I tried to find the answer.
The most profound fear most of us have is of death. As La Rochefoucauld said, “Neither the sun nor death can be looked on with a steady eye.” The Untaneh Tokef prayer tells the poetry of mortality with haunting pathos: