In our ever changing lives, there are some things that never change and stay with us forever. Those are the memories of our loved ones who have already passed from this world.
As small children we have certain memories of the people we love, and as we grow older the things we remember are of a different substance.
My late grandfather of blessed memory, Rabbi Sholom Klass, passed away 21 years ago. I have childhood memories of my zaidy, and of the summers we used to spend together in the country. Showing him a great dive I could do as I jumped into the swimming pool, or asking him for another quarter so I could play a game in the arcade. And then come the memories of my grandfather as I grew older.
My memory of the great divrei Torah he would tell at the Shabbos table, or the stories of the sages he told, as we sat at his table Friday night after the meal. Those stories I remember till this very day. I can still see him sitting over his Gemara in his study so clearly, as if it was today. I would enter the room and see him so engrossed in his learning, that he wouldn’t even notice that I entered the room. I would stand there for a few moments until he saw me. When he finally picked his head up from his learning, he would greet me with a great big smile and a kiss on the forehead.
My grandfather loved to show me all his books and would ask me if I was learning as well. He would always tell me a story from the Gemara, and his face would light up as he would tell it.
Each person has many traits and many stories that make up who they are. There are the things that people remember about others, and there are the hidden stories and deeds that one does, that only the one above truly knows about.
My beloved grandfather was a true baal chesed who loved to help everyone he could. He too had a long list of deeds and chesed that everyone knew about, and I know that my zaidy had many secrets about the help that he gave to others, that only Hashem knew of.
My grandfather came from a very special family whose motto in life was of Torah and giving. Zaidy’s family came to New York from Russia, and immediately set up a home that was open to all. Every Jew who arrived off the boat in New York, knew that there was a home of a Jewish rabbi that anyone could come to and eat and hear a great tale from the Torah and rest until they were able to move on.
My zaidy’s grandmother would even slip a dollar bill into the coats of the people that came by so that they wouldn’t leave empty handed. And she was known to feed lunch to the yeshiva boys who didn’t have a lot of food at home.
My grandfather’s father would secretly bring food to all the poor people of the neighborhood. This fact was only discovered after he passed away and the poor people came looking for him since they were hungry and didn’t know why he hadn’t shown up that week.
This was the house of great Torah people, who loved the path of truth and loved Hashem. They were true believers. This is the family that my zaidy came from, with charity and Torah running through his blood.
Zaidy Sholom has many grandchildren, and also, great-grandchildren who were named after him. I believe that the greatest joy a neshama has after they leave this world is to see their offspring following in their footsteps. Not only do these children that were named after my grandfather carry on his name physically, each and every one of those named for him are also carrying on the flames and passion of the Torah and charity that my zaidy knew so well.
I have a son who’s named after him and I’m sure that my zaidy is looking down upon him with love and happiness. My son loves the Torah more than anything. He’s gentle and full of chesed. I know that he receives the strength and ability to follow in the steps of the Torah thanks to Zaidy Sholom.
May the blessed memory of the true values of life, keep on shining through all his offspring, and keep bringing great joy to him and to Hashem.