Today, you would have turned 65. According to current American standards, a young man.
Standing at your matzeva מצבה this morning with your very grown-up, smart and beautiful daughter, I was thinking about the time when you were her age, a father in love with his child, a husband in love with his wife, a man who knew every distant relative living alone dragging me to visit them. Were you preparing me for the years I’d live alone too?
Of course, you had your shortcomings that I stashed away from my memory; no one can be perfect. But – you were special. Because of you, I am what I am today – a person filling my every spare moment with learning the text I first heard from you. Ironically, it was Beresheet. I was always amazed at all these names you remembered from those first chapters of the Torah. You were able to become the center of every conversation with different people around you bursting out laughing at your jokes, fascinated by your stories. You got up when the elder person walked into a room. I can go on forever.
By now, close to twenty years without you, I’ve stopped crying. Today, I want to celebrate your life as unique as it was short. I am hoping that you found yourself a nice company to read with and laugh with wherever you are. I am, somehow, convinced that our souls will meet again. Until then, Happy Birthday!