web analytics
February 27, 2015 / 8 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Flaming Glory

Reich-032213-Flames

Father stands there, dripping, holding his face in agony. His ruin of a beard is almost completely gone. Tufts stand out in spots; in some spots it is burned nearly clear off.

But I barely see the hair. It is the skin I see, horribly burned, pink, and pinker, and almost red, and brown, and black.

And Father’s eyes, opening, Father’s disciplined, wise, deep, eyes, searing of agony.

I hold my breath to hold myself together, for I am screaming apart from the pain.

“You will report to this office tomorrow at noon, with your face shaved cleanly.” The officer is speaking, a curt bark.

I let it fade from my mind. Now it has passed, and I can leave it be. I need my full mind, to focus my hand carefully, oh so carefully, on the ruined skin beneath the blade.

For it must be shaved, smooth and clean, before Father goes to report at noon.

My job is done.

I am still tight, holding myself tight in concentrated focus. I know that when I let go, I will be more exhausted then after a day’s hard labor.

And now, only now, do I look up, and see Father’s eyes, and Father’s face… do I see Father.

He is clean-shaven. It is terrible to look at. But I do not look at the face, cannot look at the face, for I am, must, look, at, in, Father’s eyes.

He looks at me, those deep hazel eyes, and I see agony, and I see sorrow.

And I do not know how much is agony of the searing pain of flames still burning…

And how much is sorrow, that he no longer wears the face of a Yid.

***

I stand at the piano in our living room, caught by the faces and figures covering its lid. Wedding pictures; dazzling brides and handsome grooms. Family pictures, beaming faces leaping out of frames. My eyes move from frame to frame, capturing the beauty of each before moving on.

And then..

Zeida Chezkele and Babba Malya Raizel. I stop, as I have to stop.

And I stare at my great-grandfather.

It’s mesmerizing, somehow, this picture. I feel like I can stare at it all day. Like when I hold a perfectly formed, ripe, peach in my hand, gazing at its shades of blush and rose and sunshine. Like when I hold a perfectly formed rose, trying to devour the incredible depths of black swallowed within the velvet crimson. Like when I hold my year-old baby sister, eyes traveling in wonder at the perfection of the fair skin, blue eyes, golden curls.

There is something about Zeida that holds my eyes, and does not let them go.

The face is advanced in years, and the long beard and side-curls are white. There are wrinkles on the forehead.

But oh, how beautiful is his face.

I stare, and I stare, trying to connect to those deep, seeing, eyes, to the wisdom and depth within that face.

And all I can think, murmurs sliding in a circle through my mind- is, hadras panim… hadras panim… hadras panim..

It is a gift I have not seen gracing many faces. It sits on Zeida like a crown.

Now I know that it came dearly. And I wonder… if the shine that radiates from that crown does not come, in part, from flames that burned that night on Zeida’s beautiful face.

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 “Flaming Glory”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest Sections Stories
Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Astaire-022715-Countryside

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

South-Florida-logo

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

Erudite and academic, drawing from ancient and modern sources, the book can be discussed at the Shabbos table as well as in kollel.

I’m here to sit next to you and help you through this Purim with three almost-too-easy mishloach manot ideas, all made with cost-conscious paper bags.

Kids want to be like their friends, and they want to give and get “normal” mishloach manos stocked with store-bought treats.

Whenever he did anything loving for me, I made a big deal about it.

“OMG, it’s so cute, you’re so cute, everything is so cute.”

A program that started with a handful of volunteers has grown exponentially to include students from a wider array of backgrounds.

Tutor. Counselor. The doctor too,
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with you.

More Articles from Rayzel Reich
Twenties-010915

This past Friday it was finally almost official. It was going to happen. Be’ezras Hashem.

Teens-Twenties-logo

The sounds and scents of the kitchen are cozy, familiar, but loud in the silence.

We had just moved to Boro Park, fresh from the DP camps. The community was new and small, but we were settling in nicely. I knew how fortunate I was to have almost my whole family survive; most had so much less. Our family was a draw for many who needed that familiar feeling of home. One Shabbos afternoon I answered the door to find one such friend and a couple I did not recognize.

I didn’t need that much garlic. After all… how much garlic, exactly, could I put into the chicken without overdoing it?

But something made me leave the white, rounded head on the counter after cracking off a few bulbs, rather than putting it back in the fridge. Maybe I’d need more.

I stare, and I stare, trying to connect to those deep, seeing, eyes, to the wisdom and depth within that face. And all I can think, murmurs sliding in a circle through my mind – is, hadras panim… hadras panim… hadras panim…

“…will the kid say, ‘Oh, I’m walking into the strange house, just like Goldilocks?! Maybe the kid will think..”

Apparently I had walked into a family discussion of the pros and cons of reading fairy tales to children.

It was Moishele, and Itche, and me. We did everything together. We even made our own language, which only we understood. In shul they jokingly called us “the troika,” after the three bishops whose authority extended across Poland.

These are things we do not say. These are things we are not supposed to know. These are things the Germans wish to do to us, wish us to be ignorant of – wish to round us up like unsuspecting lambs for slaughter, like dumb oxen who don’t know better. To know is to be […]

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/flaming-glory/2013/03/22/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: