Rabbi Steve Leder on overcoming loss, offering wisdom in new book
By LA Stories Staff
PUBLISHED 5:00 AM PT Jun. 20, 2022
As senior rabbi of the historic Wilshire Boulevard Temple in Koreatown, Steve Leder has helped countless families prepare for their loved one’s funeral.
In doing this, Leder asks specific questions about their loved one’s lives, learning all he can about the type of people they were.
The rabbi has come to realize the importance of writing your answers to these questions while you’re still living to leave behind an ethical will, so your values and life lessons can live on after you’re gone.
In his new book, “For You When I Am Gone,” Leder guides you through the process of writing your own ethical will.
“Our GPA, our zip code, our net worth, our resume… that’s not what our loved ones remember,” he said. “None of that really reveals the truth of a person’s life. So this book is asking questions to help a person’s real story, the truth of their life, unfold.”
In a special episode of “LA Stories,” host Giselle Fernandez sits down again with Leder, who opens up about the specific questions you should ask yourself in order to leave your loved ones with your own personal words of wisdom.
Leder asks us to write and share our advice, love and success — but also our regrets and your failures. To him, the regrets and failures teach even more of a lesson than your successes.
“Failure is very important to talk about. We learn much more from failure than success,” he said. “It’s failure, it’s disruption, it’s disappointment from which we learn.”
In guiding us through the process, Leder himself answers the questions he asks, sharing personal stories and experiences from throughout his life. By being open and honest, and asking the tough questions of yourself, he believes you can live a fuller life — not just for yourself, but also for the ones around you.
His biggest message?
“Don’t wait. Don’t wait to tell your loved ones these things, but also don’t wait to ask yourself these questions about your life.”