A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.
During this past Yom Tov, I spent some time with my son who lives out of town. One of the first things he asked caught me off guard, but also brought me joy. He wanted to know if I had gone to the cemetery. I immediately understood what he was asking – and I said yes. I did go and had personally invited my parents to his upcoming wedding.
I was pleased that he asked, because honoring parents does not end with their passing. Nor does their connection with you end. Since my parents’ passing in recent years, we have conversed many times, albeit in the pre-dawn hours, in dreams.
Therefore, I was not surprised when that very night, my father, Chaim ben Aharon Yosef HaCohen, came to me in a dream. Usually, I am a spectator, watching the dream as if it were a movie. This time, I saw myself on the phone and my father was on the other end. At the beginning of the dream, I watched myself dialing my parents’ number – one that they had for over 35 years. I saw my father pick up the receiver. I remember seeing myself look surprised and exclaiming, “Daddy, you’re back – why didn’t anyone tell me that you were back from Israel?”
My father just smiled. Suddenly, I realized – how could this be? He has passed away. I woke up with a start. I then understood that he wanted me to know that he had accepted the invitation to his grandson’s wedding.
Half awake, I remember being deeply touched by this scenario. In his life, my father, a Holocaust survivor who had lost 10 siblings and over 50 of their children, was quiet, passive and subdued. He preferred that my mother take care of personal business. In Olam Habah, the Real World, he has become confident and in charge, and has appeared to me that way in his other dream-visits to me.
In my family, visits from those who have passed on are taken very seriously. One of my earliest memories is being told how my mother’s father, Shimon Bredin, a”h, had saved my mother’s life in Auschwitz, even though he had already been long murdered. He and his wife had been selected for death by the Nazi monster doctor, Yosef Mengele, whom the inmates called the Angel of Death. They were gassed since they were middle-aged and deemed unfit for slave labor.
My mother, a starving teenager, was planning to go to the camp kitchen and try to find some work in an attempt to get more food for her and her sickly sisters. On the night before she planned to approach the kitchen staff, her father came to her in a dream and warned her not to go. She listened to his warning and didn’t go. In doing so, she saved her life since the Nazi commander on a whim had ordered all the kitchen help to be gassed and replaced with new inmates.
As I grew up, I would often share this story with my friends, who in turn would confide in me that their family had similar stories. I remember the story of a friend’s brother who, as an infant, was suffocating when his head was caught in his crib bars. His mother was warned by her mother in a dream to go and check on the baby.
It is easy to be skeptical about these stories – how can the dead reach out to us? Some may think it is wishful thinking to believe in encounters from beyond. But the answer may be in the prayer we say first thing as we get up – Modeh Ani, where we thank G-d for being merciful and returning our souls. The implication is that the soul had departed – that we were temporarily in another world.
I imagine that while we may be on the Other Side, our departed must travel quite a distance down to our level as they are on such a high madraiga (level) in Olam Haba that we would not be able to reach them. That is likely why we don’t dream about them every night.
They reach out to us only during special occasions. Like accepting a wedding invitation and letting their daughter know that they will be there to share in her joy and to shep nachas as she escorts her son to his future.
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Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.
We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.
Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.
Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.
A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.
Dear Dr. Yael:
My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.
The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.
Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.
She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.
Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!
Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.
While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.
I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.
Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.
A young lady in her early 20’s, “Sarah” was redt to “Shlomie” a boy from her home town who learned in an out-of-town yeshiva. The families know each other well, which in today’s shidduch scene is a big plus – since it was therefore unlikely the kids would “fall in” due to misinformation and misinterpretations.
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.
Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.
One can argue that forgetting something on a regular basis is a sign of advancing age and it’s time to for a neurological evaluation, but based on the number of young people who need to replace a lost smart phone (too bad it’s not smart enough to warn its owner that that they have become separated – or is there an app for that too?), I safely can say that losing “stuff” cuts across the generations.
For quite a few days in late December, Toronto was transformed into a breathtaking – literally and figuratively – frigid winter wonderland, where every twig, leaf, car door, and outdoor wire and cable was totally encased in ice. When the sun shone the landscape was blindingly brilliant as if billions of diamonds had been glued to everything the eye could see.
Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.
The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/a-visit-from-beyond/2004/11/17/
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