Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: L'zecher Nishmas Aaron Dovid ben Yitzchak

I don't use the expression, "I'll never forget ...", because umm... well... darn, I had a good reason; really!  But if I did use it, I would certainly apply it to a conversation I heard between my dad and a new-ish uncle (ie, he had recently-ish married my step-aunt).  He had gotten his MBA and was being invited into his (new-ish) father-in-law's business; a very successful shoe store.  My uncle wanted to make all sorts of changes based on his deep understanding of business, as evidenced by the fact he had earned an MBA.  My father suggested he might want to learn why his father-in-law did things the way he did, based on the fact that the store was successful.

I have tried to apply that lesson to my daily life ever since.  The brilliance of that simple idea was never more evident than when I was recently called upon to give a eulogy for my late father-in-law, Aaron Dovid ben Yitzchak, a"h.  We had had many disagreements in the 38 years I had known him, but I looked at what he left over: a 59+ year marriage, a frum daughter who is involved in ensuring the continuance of Klal Yisrael, grandchildren and great-grandchildren being reared in Torah-observant homes.  He left this world with tahara and k'vuras yisrael; attended by yeshiva yungalight as well as his close family.  With such a successful life, I looked again to find the lessons.

My father-in-law understood commitment.  A 59 year marriage has always been an accomplishment; in America today with soaring divorce rates, it's a model.  He, together, with my mother-in-law -- she should live and be well -- undertook to rear a granddaughter when he was already in his 70s and retired for many years (more about that later).  She was brought into their home and treated as another child; shelter, clothes, education, and even car pools.  Also, in retrospect, I realized that once I married his daughter, I was a member of the family.  He also accepted me for better or for worse.

My father-in-law understood that work is a means to an end, and not a lifestyle.  He did not have a particularly high paying job; he was a civil servant for the state of California.  By being careful with his expenses and investments, though, he retired at 55.  I asked him if he was going to miss work; "Not at all!"  He followed the market carefully and made investments with cautious optimism.  He was not, however, "playing the market".  In fact, again in the crystal clarity of retrospection, it was evident that his single-minded goal was to ensure financial security for his wife.

My grandchildren are, bli ayin hara, quite verbal and, Baruch HaShem, had several years to experience having great-grandparents.  They therefore needed titles for all of us.  My wife and her mother became Bubbie Debbie and Bubbie Bea.  I became Bubbie Debbie's Zeidy; my father-in-law, Bubbie Bea's Zeidy.  (Better half really does seem to be an exaggeration; we weren't ever worth our own names!)  Some are young enough, though, that this was their first experience with death.
I called my younger daughter as she was preparing to come to Florida and we discussed how she had explained all this to her children.  Then I heard my granddaughter's voice in the background and her mother (my daughter, in case you lost track) asked her if she wanted to talk to Zeidy.  I heard her reply, "Bubbie Debbie's Zeidy or HaShem's Zeidy?"

However he came into this world, whatever decisions he made passing through this world, he went out as HaShem's Zeidy; Baruch Dayan HaEmes.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Sometimes a Food Loses Its Identity When It Loses Its Bracha; Sometimes It Doesn't

Let's start with a question: Why are We Allowed to Drink Coffee and Whiskey Made by Non-Jews?  Before you ask,"Why would I think that I shouldn't be able to drink whiskey and coffee made by non-Jews?", I'll tell you. Simple, we all know that Chazal made a decree -- known as בישול עכו''ם/bishul akim -- that particular foods cooked by non-Jews are forbidden.  There are basically two criteria that determines if a dish falls into this category:
Is not consumed raw.Fit for a royal banquet. Cooked carrots, therefore, are not a problem since they can be eaten raw (I actually prefer them that way).  Baked beans are find because the are not prestigious enough.  (For great synopsis of the laws, see the article on the Star-K site, FOOD FIT FOR A KING, by Rabbi Moshe Heinemann, shlita.)  There are lots of cool questions and details (baked potatoes are prestigious, does that make even potato chips and issue?) which are for another time.  Clearly, though, both coffee an…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…