Monday, July 16, 2007

Dear Readers,

Please read this short piece in conjunction with the previous post in which I declare my love for my kallah. It replaces the previous post.

Tonight, I went to shul as I do on most nights. Today was the first day of the Hebrew month

of Av during which on its ninth day we publicly mourn the destruction of the Beis Ha Mikdash as

well as a plethora of other dark days throughout the centuries of Jewish history.

This year, as we experience the "nine days" preceding Tisha B' Av, I feel the pangs of

mourning as never before- not as much, I confess, for the myriad of catastrophes that have

befallen the Jewish people on the ninth of Av, as for the "death" of "us" that was

just days before the marriage of my kallah and me. Mind you I know well the pain of mourning

and-as maudlin as it may sound- I can tell you there is something quite tangible about this

nagging pain in my gut and a broken heart.

But something happened at shul tonight. I met an elderly man who was patiently

awaiting mincha that was scheduled to begin at 8:05.

"Good evening, Sir."

"Good Evening," he responded with the slightest hint of a smile. "I was worried we would not

have a minyan. It's nearly time, and I've yahrzeit for Ma'ariv.

"Oh," I sought to quickly reassure him. "We'll have a minyan, guarenteed. Please don't worry

about that. Your name Sir," I asked.

"Dalisman, Irving Dalisman," he said. I could see he almost said "Yitzhak," his Hebrew name,

but did not. He seemed a tiny bit hard of hearing, a little nervous and quite sad.

"Reb Dalisman," I addressed him. "For your wife, your parents, you have yahrzeit?"

Twisting his left arm over with the assistance of his right hand, he showed me six numbers.

He looked up at me. His glistening eyes bespoke the truth, but his lips uttered "My

parents" whisperingly. Only moments before had I looked at his arms for that same sign but did

not see it. Just a small rotation of his forearm revealed the green subcutaneous numerals. I was

speechless. Not that I had never seen such numbers before, but in Reb Dalisman's case he

presented it as I had never before experienced-almost as if it were a badge, of honor or shame,

I am not sure. His eyes were sunken and sallow as if he had been crying and were underscored

by dark rings-a sign almost as indelibly permanent as the horror of his tattoo. I just wanted

to take care of this man.

"This way, Reb Dalisman," pointing to the Rabbi Aron & Rebbitsin Ella Soloveitchik Beis

Medrash, some twenty paces down the hallway from where we stood. Together we opened the

door. Reb Dalisman paused.

"Should we enter? There seems to be a bar mitzvah lesson taking place." Indeed there was.

Rabbi Louis was just finishing his lesson as the bocher chimed his way through Kaddish Shalem.

Looking somwhat perturbed, but seeing that I was escorting an elderly gentleman to minyan,

Rabbi Louis saved his upset for the next two hapless fellows who followed us in but only after we

had shut the door.

"Close it!" Rabbi barked.

"Abba, it's 8:05. Time for mincha. We have a minyan," said Benzie who, as it happened, was one

of the two who came in after me and Reb Dalisman.

Reb Dalisman slowly approached the one chair unlike any other in the beis medrish, a

comfortable seat though not of the stackable variety, well-cushioned and distinctively but

peculiarly pink in color. Butted up too closely against another chair, I pulled it back. He sat down

in what had been the favorite chair of Reb Helman, the late father of Rabbi

Louis's wife, Sara Etta.

Rabbi Louis gave a klop on his shtender.

"Ashrei yoshvei v'secha ... ," we davened Mincha. But when came time for Ma'ariv, I had lost all

of my kevana, focus, and began thinking of my kallah , and how it would be that she'd not

be there when I arrived home. Now I am aware that one should look toward the heavens should

he feel his devotion waning, but I just couldn't. I closed my siddur and stared out the window.

"Maybe she'd pass by," I mused. "Even drop in to meet me here as she had done on several

occasions." I turned my head to the doorway hearing what I had thought to be a feminine voice!

Turns out just one of the younger guys.

"Amen. Yehey shmey rabba ..." the minyan declared.

I followed Reb Dalisman to his car.

"Good night, Sir," I smiled.

"Good night," he said appreciatively. I touched his arm comfortingly.

I watched as Reb Dalisman got in his car and drove away.

"There surely has to be a lesson in all of this," I ruminated, turning the ignition on.

The One Above reminded me that others are suffering too. It was as if He had sent Reb

Dalisman to remind me of this and afford me the opportunity to perform the tiniest act of

gemilus chasadim that brought a smile to a thin, worn face and relief to an elderly Jew

whose burden was lightened if for but a moment.

How I hoped she'd be home. I would have liked to share this story with her ... perhaps


Alan D. Busch



Heather said...

I would like to say that this is very well written. This is the best piece of yours I have read yet and I really feel your emotions as you wrote out the dialogue. Your writing has improved 100% and the way you express yourself has really become fluid and natural and I want to say thank you for inviting me to continue reading your blog.

Alan aka Avrum ben Avrum said...

Dear Heather,

Thank you for posting your response. It means everything to me.I sit here and think-and as you well know- I'm not inclined to say this too often, but Baruch Ha Shem, I feel better kinda :)
As much as I love Paul Potts singing "Time to Say Goodbye" I'll conclude by saying only that it is time to say goodnight :) You are welcome and I look forward to other responses.

Remember me I am thinking of you,