All of us hope and pray that our children become greater than us. We want more for our children that we want for ourselves. Things that we settled for, things that we lived with or that we lived without we don’t want for our children. How many of us did not have the education that we are insisting be available for our children? How many of us had the environment that we are trying so hard to create? Instead of saying it was good enough for me it should be good enough for our children we want our children to have more. And they have more, Boruch Hashem. The communities, the Yeshivos, the institutions that you created are there for our children. I know that it is my dream that my children should become greater Talmidei Chachomim than their father, greater Baal Midos and greater Baal tzedaka. That is my prayer. Our parents didn’t have what we have and we didn’t have what our children have. I believe this is the way of the world.
It’s source is in nature itself. Chazal say that at the beginning of creation, in Gan Eden, we had Eitz Pri, Rashi explains that this means etzo vepiryo shaveh. There was no difference between the taste of the actual tree and the fruit. This made perfect sense. If the tree and the fruit both come from the same seed, If the fruit gets its energy from the tree, so the taste should be there, and it was. But then when man and the land sinned the world became full of Eitz oseh pri. A dichotomy and division began between tree and fruit. Between potential and actual. Between our dreams and the realization of those dreams.
On Sukos we take a pri eitz hadar, an esrog which is called such because it is apparently the last of the fruit that you can still taste in the wood. We hold up the esrog and we pray that our dreams should come true, not only in our children but in us. When Talmidei Chachomim used to part from one another they used to bless each other by saying “You should see your world in your lifetime” may you live to see your dreams.
We are the dreams of our parents. Many of us have had more opportunities than our parents, more education, many of us are more affluent. At Yizkor it is our obligation to connect with our parents and be the realization of their dreams. We are the fruit of their toiling and their dreams. So many of the previous generation would give away half of their soup to help someone who didn’t have any. They would have loved to do so much more but they couldn’t. They just couldn’t. The right thing to do before yizkor is to make a pledge. A pledge to fulfil the prayer of the esrog. To connect with our source and do what our parents dreamt about.