web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Eternal Life


Lessons-logo

Psychologists are always quoted in holiday-themed articles about the seasonal blues. We are stressed from our holiday preparations and we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us. At the High Holidays, we may or may not be suffering from seasonal depression, but there is no doubt we are remembering those we’ve lost as we shop, cook, clean, daven, and take stock of our blessings at the Yontif table.

I lost my father so many years ago that the thought of this loss no longer generates pain. But that is not to say that I don’t think of him often. His presence is still palpable, still keen much of the time. Even so, 37 years is a long time. I am way past the pain of mourning him.

I was just 13 when my father passed away. It was a sudden tragedy. In spite of my youth at the time, and how I missed having a father at such a critical juncture in my development, I can look back and say that I had a good father for 13 years. I can see this as a rich blessing.

Today, at 50, I still rely on my father’s teachings. Though the body of those accumulated lessons may be smaller than for those of most people, the lessons remain eloquent and profound. I take great pleasure in sharing those lessons with my children.

I also like to imagine that Daddy somehow sees my large family and me and has nachas from the fact that I am raising a Jewish family in Israel. I credit him for raising me in such a way that I ended up making aliyah – that my life has taken the wonderful twists and turns that earn me a mitzvah for every four cubits I walk in Eretz HaKodesh. It is due to my father’s influence – abbreviated by time but never by impact – that I gave birth to children in the holy city of Jerusalem 12 times. There are now grandchildren, and all of these too are the fruit of my father’s teachings.

I don’t know what the Torah says about my wild writer’s imagination that likes to think of my father looking down and watching over me from the Heavens. But I do believe that Hashem is kind enough to grant us a certain power regarding those we love who pass away. We can give them nitzchiyus, eternal life, through remembering the special brand of goodness they brought to this world and left behind as their permanent gifts to the living.

It’s a kind of unwitting partnership: that unbreakable link between those lost and those who remain. One never knows when a virtual tap on the shoulder will be received from that long gone person who remains a part of you forever. Just this morning, as I washed the breakfast dishes, a memory popped into my mind, unbidden, like a visitation.

I remembered that my father and I were in the car (I think I was 11) and we passed some girls, teenagers, who were trying to hitch a ride. My father stopped the car for them. After ascertaining their destination, he gave them a lecture: “You look like nice girls from good families. You shouldn’t be hitchhiking. Not everyone is a nice man like me. Your parents would be very worried if they knew you were hitchhiking.”

How many people would have taken the time and cared enough to give those complete strangers, who after all were someone’s children, a talking to about the dangers of hitchhiking? How many people would have taken the time to drive those girls to their destination, way out of the way, just to ensure their safety? And, of course, I was there too. The lesson was also meant for me. My father was ensuring my safety too, by teaching me a lesson about the dangers of hitchhiking. That was a very specific lesson for a specific situation – and it remained with me long after my father’s demise.

From this brief episode, I learned what it meant to be mesiras nefesh for the sake of doing chesed. My father took the time to care for children who were random strangers, even though it caused him some inconvenience. I can apply that lesson in myriad ways and hand it down to my children as well. The task at hand is to give that lesson and my father eternal life, by emulating those teachings in dozens of ways, whenever the opportunity presents itself. Yehi zichro baruch.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Eternal Life”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
One-third of polled Republicans see President Obama as the biggest imminent threat to the USA.
One-Third of GOP Voters See Obama Worse for US than Assad and Putin
Latest Judaism Stories
Bodenheim-032715

Our ability to teach is only successful if done by example.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Outside of the High Holidays, Pesach is probably the most celebrated biblical holiday for the majority of Jews.

Business-Halacha-logo

“If I notify people, nobody will buy the matzos!” exclaimed Mr. Mandel. “Once the halachic advisory panel ruled leniently, why can’t I sell the matzos regularly?”

The-Shmuz

So what type of praise is it that Aaron followed orders?

Her Children, Her Whim
‘Kesubas Bnin Dichrin’
(Kesubos 52b)

Question: Must one spend great sums of money and invest much effort in making one’s home kosher for Passover? Not all of us have such unlimited funds.

Name Withheld
(Via E-Mail)

Yachatz is not mentioned in the Gemara. What is the foundation for yachatz?

First, the punishment for eating chametz on Pesach is karet, premature death at the Hand of God.

Why is it necessary to invite people to eat from the korban Pesach?

How was I going to get to Manhattan? No cabs were going, we didn’t have a car, and many people who did have cars had no gas.

Did you ever notice that immediately upon being granted our freedom from Egypt, the Jewish people accepted upon themselves the yoke of a new master – Hashem?

Why does Torah make the priests go through a long and seemingly bizarre induction ceremony?

Often people in important positions separate from everyday people & tasks-NOT the Kohen Gadol

You smuggled tefillin into the camp? How can they help? Every day men risked their lives to use them

Rambam: Eating blood’s forbidden because connected to idolatry;Ramban: We’re affected by what we eat

Rambam warns that a festival meal without taking care of the needy isn’t fulfilling simchat yom tov

More Articles from Varda Epstein
Game of Groans

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

Zone Bar Mitzvah JPress Resized (2)

In this Catskills summer camp, the custom is “Rocking this place like it’s never been rocked before”

Praising the relationship between Camp Oorah and officials of Scoharie County in Upstate New York.

Psychologists are always quoted in holiday-themed articles about the seasonal blues. We are stressed from our holiday preparations and we remember our loved ones who are no longer with us.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/eternal-life/2011/11/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: