There's an old English saying: "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today." Certainly the events of 9/11 underlined the fragility of human existence. I'm sure there are many among the families of the dead who beat themselves up with the "if onlys." "If only we had not put off doing/saying/going."
It is still a good few weeks until Rosh Hashanah. Some people are first going to start thinking about yom tov preparations in the week before it begins. There is one preparation, however, that I would like everyone to start, and start now. Among your acquaintances, among your neighbors, among those in your shul or social circles are those for whom yom tov equates to being alone. They are, some of them, singles who live far from their families and who will not be able to make it home for yom tov. They are the widowed with no family nearby. They are the elderly. Now is the time to call and invite these people for a meal or two or all for yom tov. Don't wait for them to call you--hachnosis orchim says you do the inviting, you do the welcoming.
No one should have to be scrounging around for someplace to be for yom tov. Guests should not be looked at as a burden but as a chance to show our good sides, to openly and happily participate in the mitzvah of hachnosis orchim. And yes, my money and my mouth are in the same place--I do what I'm asking you all to do. A young woman who has been my regular guest for yom tov for years is coming this year for the last time. She has become a member of our family and we are going to miss her, but her absence will be because she is getting married in a few months. And there will be others at our table as well, others who will enhance our yom tov through their presence, others whose presence reminds us that we are not the only people in the world.
Please, if you do no other yom tov preparation this week, then at least give a thought to who you might invite, whose yom tov you might make more "light filled." Let's truly make 9/11 a day for the living. Call someone now and ask them to share your yom tov.
A little addendum off the topic: the young woman I mentioned above is one of three roommates, all three of whom have become engaged recently. I mention this because all three are women in their mid 30's. For those of you having trouble finding or keeping your bitochon that there is indeed a person out there for you, please use these women to strengthen yourself. They didn't lose heart, they kept their bitochon and they are all three now going to be zocheh to build a bais ne'eman b'yisroel. In this new year that is coming up may all you singles be zocheh to find your zivug.