# 2642 Chosen Last Words

Q. Re- question above. I have another question. The aunt of my friend, is herself not frum at all and never was. My friend by the way, is a great askan and mekarev of baalei teshuva. When meeting her today, he wants to be able to say viduy with her. But that may turn out to be very tricky as she may refuse to say anything like that. What is the correct approach in such situation?
A. From my sadly vast experience in tending to non religious patients last moments, while in Mexico, I may advise the following. As I understand, since the friend was not that close to his aunt, first he should establish a relationship with her by reliving past family experiences and stories, that she is likely to remember and cherish. Then taking into account the shortness of time available, he should recite the Shema. From experience, even the most nonreligious and unbelievers, will react positively to listening to the Shema, when they are aware they are passing on.
As I understand, she used to live in Israel, she may react to a Shir Hamaalos, sung to the emotional and well known tune of the Israeali anthem. At that emotive point, you may try to mention making peace with all including Hashem too.
Horav Shlomo Miller’s Shlit’a opinion, is somewhat similar. He added that she does not have to recite in such case the traditional words of viduy herself, as they not only will likely be meaningless to her, it may even be counterproductive and cause further negation at a very crucial time. Best is to just mention an expression of love and unity with the Creator, or at least to recite a tefila to Hashem for her that she understands, and ask her to answer amen.
Rabbi A. Bartfeld as advised by Horav Shlomo Miller Shlit’a.

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