In Vayechi, we read about Jacob’s last words to his children and Joseph’s last words to his brothers. In the haftarah, we read of King David’s last words of advice and instruction to his son Solomon.

From both the parshah and the haftarah, we see the importance of advising our children before the day comes.

The thing is that we don’t know when that day will come. As for me, G‑d has chosen to give me ALS, and since the diagnosis, “the day” has been staring me in the face. My wife, Dina, and good friends whose parents have passed on have been trying to impress upon me the importance of writing a personal will, not a technical document about assets, but a personal letter addressed to each of my family members. At first, I was stubborn, not wanting to consider the suggestion that the day might come. But then, a few of my friends suddenly passed away, which got me thinking that it’s probably a good idea for everyone to do, even those who are healthy.

Now that I have started, it has become so meaningful to me, as it has given me clarity of what I really want—for my family in general, for my wife and for each of my children specifically. I don’t plan to wait for them to find out when my time comes. As soon as I am done, I will share it with them so that they know how I feel about them, what I think they are capable of and what I wish for them.

A father’s and mother’s advice is so powerful and cherished by their children. Even if they ignore it now, it will eventually have a tremendous impact.

My suggestion is to every parent—and anyone who has been a teacher or mentor to someone they truly care about—start the process of writing an ethical will. You will find it meaningful, it will give you clarity, and your family will be grateful that you did it.

May we be a guiding light to our families and merit G‑d’s blessing, to see them turn better than we could have imagined. May they be a nachas to G‑d, to the Jewish people, and to us!