My father A”H passed away in early June. It wasn’t sudden-sudden, but it was sudden enough. He wasn’t young, but he was certainly not old enough. We loved him and we let him know it, and that we were going to be okay, and he shouldn’t worry about us as he approached his end . . . but that probably wasn’t enough either, for he cared and worried about us so much. Yes, it was tough. It is tough. I miss him so much. I wrote a little bit about this, for a general audience, here, but it’s a sliver of the crust of the matter.
I’m not posting this to eulogize my father here, or even to write at length about how he, who was not religious, and never became religious, did so much good in raising his children as Jews that he has left behind so many frum descendants K”EH. Part of the reason for that is that it is too painful, though I do think it would be a good topic down the road here. So many of our parents need to know how it is that, contrary to how some of them feel, frequently BT’s are not rejecting their values: Many of us have made the choice we did because we were acting on those values in ways they did not have the opportunity to do, given their time, place and situations.
For now, though, I wanted to share a few thoughts about something really kind of neat — yeah — that I learned over the course of shloshim — the thirty day period of intense mourning following a close relative’s passing. Mainly, it’s this: The Torah is amazing.
The Torah is amazing in many ways, but if chas v’sholom [Heaven forfend] it gave us nothing but instruction in how to mourn (which are by and large rabbinical enactments), it would still be phenomenally brilliant.
Here are some of the things I didn’t know that I know now, because of how Chazal [the Sages] arranged the Jewish way in mourning:
The main thing I kept wanting to say — and, being me, I finally did say it — was that, “This is so amazing… it would just be so perfect if Dad could be here with us to experience it.”
And yes, we truly believe he was. And he is.