The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

My Dad, z'l: A Story

Last night we had a siyum and seudah (festive meal) to commemorate my father's first yahrtzeit. A number of my father's 11 grandchildren spoke, including our older son, whose own son, now 9 months old, is named after my dad.

Our son spoke beautifully, saying, among other things, how my dad was (and remains) a role model for him and how big a zechus it is that his son is named after him.

Then he told a great story that typifies my father's will and determination.

During our son's first year studying at Yeshivat Shaalvim in Israel, my parents visited Yerushalayim (as they did countless times over the past 30 years). They were staying at my sister's house in Yemin Moshe. Our son came to stay with them on Thursday night. Friday morning, as usual, my dad walked to the Kotel and back to daven. He then had a few things that he wanted to pick up in Mea She'arim and asked our son if he wanted to come along.

They walked up the steps of Yemin Mshe to King David Street. Our son was about to hail a cab when my father said, "we don't need a cab, let's walk". So, they walked the 45 minutes up the hills to Mea Shearim and ran their errands. Our son suggested that they go into town for breakfast and was, again, ready to hail a cab. My father said, nothing doing, and they walked to Ben Yehuda. Finally our son was able to persuade my dad to hop into a cab for the ride back to Yemin Moshe. The whole cab ride my dad was muttering under his breath, "We could've walked. We didn't need the cab."

This was in 2001. My dad was 79, had had quadruple bypass surgery and suffered from Parkinson's. For 75 years he had been an amazingly vibrant and physical man (albeit as small as I am), a veteran of WWII, an avid walker and swimmer. Since his heart surgery, he was never the same. But his willpower and determination never changed.


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