One of the holy Jews from my shul just made aliyah with his family through Nefesh B'Nefesh. Scroll all the way up to the second picture from the top. What do they mean by "all kinds of Jews?"
Hat Tip: Sarah
The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @ aol.com
There's a sign hanging on the door to our shul. It reads: "Fellow Jew, if you came to shul to talk, where do you go to daven?" You can't have it both ways.
The Kaddish has been called an echo of the Book of Job. Job said: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him." The Kaddish is an expression of faith on the part of the mourner that although he is grief-stricken, he still believes in God, still trusts in the meaning of life. It is the ultimate anti-existentialist statement. Karen and I will mourn forever. We are riven as day follows night. Our son will always be dead, and a central portion of our lives died with him.I cannot compare the unfathomable loss of a child to the loss of a parent who lived a full and happy life. Nevertheless, I am indebted to Robert Avrech for his deep insight.
This Shabbos I recite the last Kaddish of the eleven months for Ariel.
I stand in shul, eyes closed, swaying back and forth, chanting the words with (I hope) perfect diction and true feeling. I want the b'racha to go on forever. I want to stretch the words like a giant rubber band and make them reach from earth to heaven. There are at least another dozen mourners in shul, all with much louder voices than mine, but I hear only one sound. Is this my voice? I see Ariel as he used to be: sitting in shul beside me. Is this my voice? I study the delicate architecture of his face. I melt as Ariel's lips move, savoring each syllable, whispering the sacred Hebrew text. Is this me? I study his long tapering fingers as they turn the pages of the siddur. I lean over and bury my lips in the plush groove of his neck. It is my voice. I am close to the end. It is my son. I take three steps back and three steps forward. I finish the Kaddish. I open my eyes and I see a dozen men in shul gazing at me. Some have tears in their eyes. Several nod, tacitly acknowledging the finality of the moment. I open my eyes and I see light. I open my eyes and I am swimming through layers of memory. I open my eyes and I see splendor. I open my eyes and I see my son, my son, Ariel.
A couple of months ago I was talking to my Rebbe about Jewish music. A couple of folk-rocky, post Carlebach, non-Shiny Shoe CDs had been released in the previous few months. It seemed clear that the artists and producers putting out these CDs were motivated by all the right things and were not doing it for the money or fame. Nevertheless, the CDs were, IMHO, derivative and not particularly melodic. Mediocre, at best.Dm's response to the rant is thoughtful and as usual, spot on.
(Indeed, there are many groups like that out there and I have met a number of them. They are very sweet and real and all they want to do is inspire other Jews with their music. Unfortunately, they simply aren't particularly original or good.)
The Hebrew Kid And The Apache Maiden is a wondrous novel that anyone of any age can easily relate to: one of courage and optimism in the face of adversity; of finding hugely comforting friendships in the most unlikely of times and places. The text is rich with powerful imagery, fluid prose, wonderful dialogue and a hearty dose of Jewish legend.As they say in the 'hood, "What he said."
Written from the depths of a tormented soul as his beloved only son lay dying of cancer, Robert Avrech has endowed us with a priceless gift. Artfully and delicately, the author weaves his own soul's journey-the universal truths of faith,loyalty and love- into the very fabric of this heartstoppingly poignant
What I found most alluring, was Robert's entirely true to life portrayal of character. Robert deviates from many of his Jewish contemporary fiction writers for young adults, who often create larger than life characters. With a supreme grasp of human nature, Robert Avrech spared no details that would dilute the character's essence. The story exposes us to some of life's harsher realities, but ultimately the characters' reactions lead us to shape and define them clearly-as is often the case in the shaping of our own selves.I have already bought a copy for my little one (please don't tell her; I'm giving it to her tomorrow) and the 14 year old daughter of a friend (who read it in one night and loved it). You can give it to your kids on condition that they let you read it afterwards.
It is customary to refer to your father as Avi, Mori; my father, my teacher. That, indeed, was the essence of what my dad was.On Shabbos, the day after the funeral, I had tremendous chalishas hadas. While I talked about how great a teacher my father was, I didn't talk about what kind of student I was. Reflecting on this, I realized how far I had to go before I measured up. I have a lot of work to do.
He taught us both concrete things and abstract concepts. He taught us to throw a softball and he taught us to be erliche Yiddin. He taught us a love of baseball and he taught us to be menches. He taught us the importance of being physically fit and he taught us the importance of being real. He taught us to swim and he taught us the power of music. He taught us the importance of a smile and a good word. He taught us about the sweetness of Shabbos. He taught us z'miros in three-part harmony. He taught us that it was more important to get out of the Shea Stadium parking lot quickly than whether or not the Mets won. He taught us that if you walk at a fast pace you get to where you are going more quickly. He taught us to give tzedakah in a tzniusdik way. He taught us the importance of being oskai Tzorchei Tzibur B’Emunah. He taught us the importance of being on time, especially for appointments with the Ribbono Shel Olam. He taught that it was not beneath his sons or grandsons to do the laundry, clear off the table or wash the pots. He taught us a love for Eretz Yisrael. He taught us never, ever, to raise our voices, especially to our loved ones. He taught us how much a person can overcome in life just by force of will and determination.
And, he taught us all this without ever darshaning or giving mussar. Indeed, he taught us all this by hardly saying a word. He taught us all this simply by the way he conducted himself. He understood on a very simple level that he was a Ben Melech, a child of the King, and conducted himself accordingly.
My father was a very special man and we will miss him dearly. I take comfort from the pasuk in Tehillim that I was reading last Sunday night when we thought he was about to leave us. Yodai’ah Hashem Yimai Timmim, V’nachalasam L’Olam Tihiyeh. “Hashem recognizes the days of the righteous and their inheritance will be forever.” The Even Ezra says that nachalasam, the inheritance of the righteous, refers to their children and grandchildren through the generations. The Radak says that nachalasam refers to their olam habah.
May Hashem grant my father the olam habah that he so richly deserves and may he be a meilitz yasher for all of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and all the generations to come.