Sunday, September 25, 2005
A Blessing, the Ocean, Ben and I
I have been thinking about this for quite a while now because there is so much more I wish to say about Ben, that I know I've yet to recall. All parents do, I suppose, have their enduring "moments in mind", those remarkably preserved "snapshots" of earlier, different and less troubled times-during which when much younger-we used to-as Ben's mom liked to say-make memories together.
I chose this photograph of Ben and me-one of my favorites-which shows us some twenty-one years ago when my younger brother Michael, Ben-then six years old, Kimmy, their mom and I journeyed on our first family vacation together to Florida. What a wonderful family time it was! A fragment of that memory baffles me though to this very day; something that I did with and especially for Ben-just he and I, but before I relate any more of the story-I should really point out that this happened at a time in my life when I was almost entirely Jewishly unobservant; in other words, i was just pretty much the sort of Jew that I had been raised to be; a sparse sunday school Jewish education, Shabbat? Oh, you mean Saturday morning cartoons! Just one Passover seder-not two and always at the home of my Aunt Iris, Olav ha Shalom, presents at Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah and the big meal together at the end of Yom Kippur though i do not recall ever having fasted.
We spent-I think it was-one or two days in Jacksonville which was very special for me because I had never before that seen the ocean about which I was very excited. Even more special would be that I planned to behold it for the first time with Ben in my arms. We all had arisen early that morning and hurried out to the beach. Just ahead lay our special moment together! Though not entirely certain of this, I think Ben and I raced ahead of the group down to the water's edge ... whereupon he leapt into my arms, and the following words that I had previously learned and committed to memory (though I think I did have a cheat sheet!) I then recited to Ben as we gazed upon the Atlantic Ocean:
"Baruch ata HaShem, Elokeinu Melech ha Olam, sheasa et ha yam ha gadol"- Blessed are you, our God, King of the universe, who made the great sea.