Monday, February 18, 2013

Weekend In Windsor Park

On Friday night I was reading Rabbi Riskin's memoir in which he writes that Thomas Wolf was right, that "you can't go home again."  The funny (not ha-ha) thing is that I was reading the book at my father's kitchen table in my childhood home.  I've said it before and I'm sharing again that you can go home again.  Here I am, starting this post, in the basement of my youth, typing at the Acer home computer my brother and sister in law got my parents as a gift.


Going to the shul I grew up in is a trip - and now I am recalling it from back in my own adult home. So many characters of interest; lots of nice folks in the small townin Queens that I grew up in.  There's the fellow who has reread Living Each Day every day of every year for the past twenty five years.  (He remembers that I like Rabbi Twerski, so he always tells me something about his favorite book - this visit he told me that the cover finally fell off. He also shared that he  liked the story about the extra rabbi attending a gathering when only ten had been invited and how an innocent took the rap and walked out to not embarrass the one who actually crashed.) Then there's the Agnon scholar who helped me understand Another Tallit - Tallit Acheret. (He pointed out how the word makom, which is central to the story is also a reference to G-d.  Also, that "acheret" alludes to Rabbi Elisha ben Avuya - Acher. He published an article  about it called HaChilul HaMeshulash in a journal called HaSifrut in 1972.) There's the fellow who's retired to Las Vegas and is back for a visit, waiting for a child to be born.  There's the rabbi who spoke about being versus doing and connected the concepts to the Rambam and Ramban's views of the Mishkan/Mikdash. (One can argue that The Rambam sees the focus of the Mikdash as being the offering of korbanot and to a lesser degree - aliyah leregel, i.e. doing.  The Ramban sees the key function of the Mikdash to be receiving the Hashra'at HaShechinah, being. His concluding message was that in life we have to balance being and doing.)  There's the pious woman who is a chasidah of the late Rabbi Tuviah Charner who was touched by the vort I quoted from him in my short Dvar torah in Shul on Friday night (her husband told her about it and at kiddush she asked me to repeat it). (The vort, in short, was that Torah, Avodah, and Gemilut Chasadim can be taken broadly to mean three pillars of the world: education, work, and community.)  There's the man who always tells me he wishes I'd speak in Shul more often and asks me his self proclaimed "klutz kashas".  The Baal Korei who walks a round trip of roughly six miles from Kew Gardens Hills likes to share Divrei torah with me, particularly from his Roshei Yeshivah. And he calls me from time to time when his Yeshivah has a raffle. There's the woman who loves my book.  There's her colorful friend who is a professional driver.  There's the president and his puns and the one man who laughs at them.  There's the woman who says kaddish religiously. There are empty seats filled with ghosts of candy-men and Bar-Mitzvah teachers, talkers and shushers, those who have departed to the next world, and those who are in Florida. And of course there is my dad, he should be blessed with continued health and life.  At 83 he's a pillar of the community, making a minyan every day, serving as a key member, giving out sweets to the kids on Shabbos.  My dad is a survivor and a thriver in more ways than I can count.  I love him and am proud of him.  And I love that I can count on him to read this post.


does not knock, it presents itself 
when you beat down the door.

~ Kyle Chandler


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