Friday, January 1, 2010

Vayechi! Let's Live!

This week's Parshat Shavua, Torah Portion of the Week, is Vayechi.  Biblical Hebrew has a different grammar from our Hebrew of today.  Take your verb, put it in future and add "and" and you have the past.  Yes, strange, but that's grammar for you.

Vayechi is about the life and death of our Patriarch Ya'aqov Jacob.  He fathered the twelve tribes, the foundation of the Jewish Nation.  He lives on through all of us.  There's life after death when you have children and further descendants.  Although his own father never left the HolyLand, he trekked and returned and then went down to Egypt for his final years, only demanding from his children to bury him in the Promised Land.

Today's the first of the goyish calendar year, 2010.  Now that I don't have attendance forms to fill out, and rarely do I write a check, I pretty much ignore the goyish date.  That's pretty easy for me to do.  The Hebrew date is something else, just looking in the sky and seeing the shape of the moon, and we can gauge pretty accurately what today's date is.  This picture shows a full moon, so it must be the middle of the month.

My father is only connected to the goyish calendar.  That's the world he grew up in.  He doesn't even remember his Bar Mitzvah, even though he certainly had one.

Every day as we take our walk around my neighborhood, we observe the weather.
"It's so warm outside.  Is it really the end of December?  It must be much colder in Great Neck now."
"Yes, they even had a snow storm."
"The house was always warm.  The end of December? Then it's going to be a new year soon.  And then I will be ninety, right?"
Ya'aqov was taken to Egypt by his children, and l'havdil, to differentiate, I brought my father to Israel. G-d willing, my mother will sell the house quickly and join us.  Most of their descendants are here in Israel.  That was the magnet that drew him here and made him agree to come with me.

Before he left New York, he mentioned to friends and family that he probably wouldn't return.  He expects to live the remainder of his life in Israel.  Most of his friends and family of his age group have already died, or like him can no longer travel easily and independently to visit each other.  So, life in New York is not what it once was.  The time had come to make real changes.

We're all doing the best we can so that he'll enjoy however much time G-d gives him.  Vayechi... and he will live...


Keli Ata said...

Such a beautiful post about your dad; I can tell you're cherishing everyday with him.

Little question--do you have air conditioning? If he's complaining of the heat now, summer might be very hard for him. Please be prepared in advance for summer.

There are even air conditioners that don't need to be put in a window or wall, as long as they can be vented to the outside through a small tube.

Batya said...

Maybe I wasn't clear. He's not complaining about the heat; he's amazed by it. He suffers from the cold.

goyisherebbe said...

I understood the part about the heat fine. What struck my was the sad simpleness of a man losing his faculties. May Hashem soon revive the dead and return the health and abilities to the living, especially prophecy.

Batya said...

Yes, it's sad, but B"H, he's in good humor and spirits. I'm sure you'd like him if you could get here to visit.

JDL London Canada said...

Batya, what a beautiful shot. That building shown I believe is your local makolet? I went shopping there before we left and there's an insta-bank inside. The friendly man running the store was the one who invited me to the Sephardic shul.
If its warm there is snowy here, 15cm more on top of the 15cm ... It's time for a change of scenery ...

I'm glad your father made the move.

Batya said...

Yes, thanks, that's the place.
We've had some rain here, but it has been an unusually warm winter so far.