Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Chag Sameach ve'Kasher!

Happy Passover to all!


Thursday, March 07, 2013

Confront the Now

The Chazon Ish gave a parable. A general fought a battle to defend his country from an enemy from the north. When he died, his son assumed his position. Years later, the country again came under attack, this time by an enemy from the south. The son dispatched the army to the north, because his father had done so. He was reprimanded, "You fool! Your father sent the army to the north because that is where the attack from. This time it is from the south, and that is where the army must go."

The Chazon Ish said, "Every generation faces new threats. We must confront the current threats and not those of previous generations if they no longer exist."

Rabbi Abraham J. Twerski in Angels Don't Leave Footprints.

זכות יצחק

Over the last year or so, I have been working on a birkon (Booklet containing grace after meals and songs) using the Rhodesli traditions.  The text and songs were provided graciously by Hazzan Isaac Azose, and I put together the rest (forward, brief history of Rhodes, and a picture of the memorial plaque outside the synagogue in Rhodes).  I called the birkon זכות יצחק (The virtue/right of Isaac), in honor of my great uncle Isaac Piha (who died in Auschwitz a few days before the camp's liberation) and my father, who carries the same name.

I am extremely honored that two of these birkonim are now a part of The National Library of Israel:

אישור על מסירת עותקי חובה

הפרסומ/ים הרשומ/ים מטה התקבל/ו בספרייה הלאומית כנדרש בחוק.

אנו מודים לכם על מסירת עותקי החובה ועל תרומתכם לבניין האוסף ושימור התרבות. אנו מקווים שגם בעתיד תמציאו לידינו את פרסומיכם החדשים עם הופעתם.

הפרסומים המתקבלים בספריה נרשמים בקטלוג הספרייה הלאומית ובקטלוג המאוחד של הספריות בישראל. עותקיהם מונגשים לעיון באולמות הקריאה ונשמרים לדורות.
ניתן לעיין בקטלוגים ולקרוא עוד על הספרייה ואוספיה באתר הספרייה הלאומית:

מס': 003507442

זכות יצחק : ברכת המזון וזמירות לשבת וחג., הע, 2012.


Friday, March 01, 2013

Life of Pi

Nonnou (my dad's father) died a few weeks after my 20th birthday.  On my birthday, we never got a chance to speak as we had done for many years.  As I mourned his loss, I was devastated that I never had a chance to say goodbye.  I'm sure he knew I loved, respected and looked up to him, but I wish I could have told him this myself one last time.  It's something I will always regret - I missed my last opportunity to say goodbye, to acknowledge the role he played in my life.

"I suppose in the end, the whole of life becomes an act of letting go, but what always hurts the most is not taking a moment to say goodbye."
Pi Patel

The above quote stood out to me as my wife and I watched Life of Pi a few days ago.  It bought back my regret of not telling Nonnou how much I appreciated him one last time. I decided it was something I wanted to ensure didn't happen again. Gramps' (my mom's father) health has been on the decline the last few years, and though we've been corresponding regularly the last few years, I felt that it was important for me to tell him what what I wished I had told Nonnou when I had the chance (I had the opportunity to say goodbye before Granny died when I was 16).  As we talked last night, I told him how much I loved and respected him, and how I hoped I could be a good human being like he's been. He thanked me, and as the conversation winded down he told me, "I love you Avram very much, thank you again." Earlier this morning, I had a similar conversation with Nonna. Like Gramps, she was touched by what I said and thanked me. 

Trying your best to ensure mistakes you've made in the past are not repeated is part of what life is all about - part of our journey to better ourselves. I guess the Pirki Avot (4:1) adage of "Who is smart? He who learns from others" doesn't only refer to people you interact with throughout your lives, but also movie (or book) characters!

Shabbat Shalom.