SEPTEMBER 15, 2016 | The Jewish Home
for our parents were de rigueur. During bedtime on most nights, I have been reading my daughter the “All of a Kind Family” series. They are books about a Jewish family growing up in the city in the early 1900s. I love reading her their stories because it tells of a different era. Besides for the lack of telephones, cars, elevators and refrigerators, there was a certain respect for people and life that our generation is missing. Waiting for Papa before touching any supper, doing chores without complaint, keeping their limited wardrobe neat and clean, and listening to their parents’ rules without question are just some examples of the simplicity and wholesomeness of years ago. Life was hard but small things were appreciated – a handful of nuts, a hair ribbon, a bag of broken crackers to munch on. Life was simpler back then. Growing up, my family went to a small shteeble in Brooklyn. I remember sitting on the bench in shul on Shabbos listening to the rabbi’s speech in Yiddish. I don’t understand Yiddish, but inevitably he would sprinkle the words “the alter heim” throughout his talk. He would speak fondly about how life was then and about the rabbonim of that generation. I wish I would have been able to understand all that he was saying. There is so much we can learn from the older generations. I only hope we can take it all in.
ast night I had the privilege of sitting next to my great-aunt at a family sheva brachos. It was time well-spent as she talked and told me stories of how she juggled her work-family balance fifty years ago. She shared anecdotes and imparted words of wisdom, and I only wished we would have had more time together. Speaking with those from previous generations gives you a glimpse into another world. There are so many years and experiences that they can impart and share, and the lessons that you learn are inspiring. Just this past Shabbos I met an elderly gentleman in shul who is zocheh to arichas yomim. His face was unlined and he was smiling as he explained why he felt that he has the zechus of being in this world for so many years, zohl ehr zein gezunt. My son was with me and I urged him to listen to what the man was saying. The gentleman reminded us that when one performs kibbud av v’em to its fullest, one is guaranteed a long life. Based on the way the posuk words the phrase, he pointed out that it’s an imperative that a long life follows respect for one’s parents. He asked, “Do you know what it means to be mechabed your parents?” He answered his question, “To follow in their ways.” When we learn from our parents and follow their customs, then we are showing that we respect them and their values. Even singing the same zemiros, he said, shows how much you value the way they live, or lived, their lives. Years ago, respect for elders and respect
Wishing you a wonderful week, Shoshana
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Five Towns Jewish Home - 9-15-16