The True Judge

WestBankPapa here –

Mama’s father passed away on Saturday night.

In accordance with Jewish custom she is “sitting shiva” – receiving condolences for a week – at her brother’s home in Jerusalem, where Dad lived for the past 15 years.

My father-in-law was born in Germany in 1925 and grew up in New York City. Dad received no formal Jewish education, but made sure Mama and her brother went to Jewish day school.  He encouraged his children to explore Judaism in their teen years, and supported them as they brought authentic Jewish practices into the home – although they were sometimes foreign to him. Without detracting from Mama’s own personal path of return to Judaism, we can say that by these crucial decisions my father-in-law saved his family from the scourge of assimilation.

Dad moved to Israel 15 years ago, after Mom died. He was an active retiree who volunteered at Hadassa hospital. Only in the last few years did his health falter. He died in his home, surrounded by my brother and sister-in-law and their children – who had been most devoted to his care.

Of course we are very grateful that he made it to our son’s Bar Mitzvah last week.

I sat with my nephew Saturday night and said psalms – with Dad in our hearts. From that perspective, something jumped out at me from the text. Over and over again, King David justifies himself before G-d by citing one particular character trait:

“Save me, G-d – because I never spoke falshood.”

“Deliver me, G-d – because I never spoke flattery or deceit.”

My father-in-law was a “straight shooter” who spoke his mind with complete candor. And I learned that he respected and accepted other people’s direct, honest statements to him – without a hint of pride or pretence. As we say in Hebrew slang, he spoke “dugri” – directly – to everyone.

Readers of this blog know that this committment to honesty and clarity lives on in his children – may they enjoy long life, and not know any more sorrow.


13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Rafi G
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 09:52:40

    BDH. Hamakom Yenachem Otach b’toch Shaar Aveilei Tziyon V’Yerushalayim

  2. Lady-Light
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 11:15:06

    ברוך דין האמת. המקום ינחם אותך בתוך שאר אבילי ציון וירושלים
    I am so sorry for your loss…may you be comforted among the mourners of Zion…
    My father, a Hebrew scholar and poet who gave me my love of Ivrit and Judaism, died young (64)many years ago, in Yerushalayim, so I relate…

  3. Erica
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 13:21:22

    ברוך דין אמת

    המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

    May his soul be bound in the bonds of everlasting life. And may you all know only simchas.

  4. tnspr569
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 14:29:20

    ברוך דין האמת. המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

  5. Ezzie
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 17:00:46

    ברוך דין האמת. המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים

  6. Jack
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 18:02:06

    Baruch Dayan Emet

  7. soccer dad
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 18:04:39

    המקום ינחם אותך בתוך שאר אבילי ציון וירושלים

  8. Shira Salamone
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 18:11:36

    I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I’m glad that your father lived to see your son celebrate becoming a Bar Mitzvah last week. I hope that your fond memories of your father will be a comfort. HaMakon y’nachem etchem b’toch sh’ar aveilei Tzion v’Y’rushalim.

  9. aidelmaidel
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 18:13:20

    Baruch Dayan Emes. HaMakom Yenachem eschem bsoch shaarei aveilei zion be’yerushalim.

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost my father just two years ago, so I can empathize with the pain you are probably thinking. My thoughts are with you.

  10. mother in israel
    Feb 25, 2008 @ 19:01:38

    Baruch Dayan Haemet. Thanks for sharing a bit of his life with us.

  11. Daled Amos
    Feb 27, 2008 @ 02:39:08

    Baruch Dayan Haemet.

  12. westbankmama
    Mar 02, 2008 @ 14:28:34

    Thank you all for your condolences.

  13. Balabusta in Blue Jeans
    Mar 09, 2008 @ 20:46:49

    Baruch dayan emet. What a great blessing that he was able to attend the Bar Mitzvah.

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