Katz's Kosher Deli, Peekskill, New York...
Debbie leaned against the car and sighed. The rain had let up only slightly, but it promised to return, judging by the lingering clouds overhead. It had already been a long morning, and she was very tired. Things never go the way we plan, as the old saying goes, and her own car had been in the shop for almost a week with no repair on the horizon. Once the family returned home, she had every intention of visiting Zaydeh Jacob before heading back to school, but with the car situation, it would probably mean a bus ride and back to get the car at Thanksgiving.
“It’s so warm for September…this late. I wish Zaydeh Jacob had been here for the holiday.” Debbie’s mom said as she walked to the car; Debbie’s sisters and brother had plans they couldn’t break, so it was a day out just with her parents.
“With that headache you’ve got, I think maybe I should be driving, Dad,” Debbie said. Her dad nodded with a slight wince and got into the back of the car.
“I don’t think he’ll give you any arguments, honey,” Naomi said with a sympathetic frown. Aaron smiled weakly before settling back in the back seat; a plastic baggy filled with ice from the Deli crowned his head.
“I think today…we’ll go visit Zaydeh Jacob on the way home, okay?” Naomi said as she looked into the mirror on her sunvisor. Aaron would have preferred heading straight home first, but between being outvoted and it being his father they were visiting? The drive was not too far out of the way, and it was such a lovely day; a time of remembrance and reflection of the beauty of creation and the provision of G_d, so what better way to be thankful than to express love and appreciation for the head of the family.
“What about the bus? I need to be back by four or so, Mom.” She was hoping for a late visit followed by one or the other of her very indulgent parents to drive her the sixty-some-odd miles back to Waterbury. Her mother looked over her and smiled.
“You worry too much, oh light of my life. Let’s just see how things work out for the moment.” Debbie nodded and smiled back before starting the car; they were off an instant later.
A short while later...
“You missed a nice service, Pop.” Aaron smiled down at his father. It had been a very nice week, and all of the family had felt so much closer for it all. Naomi gripped his hand and squeezed. Debbie stepped closer; perhaps the most thankful member of the family; owing so much gratitude to the Creator of the Universe and to the almost small but tender-hearted man who had blessed her not so many years ago. She smiled and spoke.
“I’m probably going to be on the Dean’s List again, Zaydeh Jacob. And soon? Maybe a doctor in the family?” She laughed softly at the thought of being a psychologist.
“A regular Anna Freud,” he would say. “More like a Carla Rogers,” she had teased back. She looked away, as if for some guidance as to what to say next.
“I wouldn’t be here at all if it weren’t for you, Zaydeh. I love you so much, and I am so thankful you are my grandfather.” Her lip began to quiver and tears began to fall from her face. She took another breath and spoke.
“I hope this will make your day shine, Zaydeh.” She put her head down slightly and closed her eyes; a simple recitation, but a favorite of his, and long forgotten until she recalled it enough to memorize it once again.
“I hope my pronunciation is okay?
chas dei ha shem ki lo-ta me nu ki lo-cha lu ra cha-mav. cha da shim lab be ka rim rab bah e mu na te cha. Chel ki ha shem a me rah naf shi al-ken o v chil lov.s….
Naomi stepped close and spoke along with her daugter while Aaron mouthed the words silently.
to vv ha shem le ko va vk le ne fesh tid re shen nu. to vv ve ya chil ve du mam lit shu 'at ha shem.
Short but powerfully moving words that reflected the deep gratitude and faith the girl had; instilled in her by her grandfather. A man who believed in G_d and family and believed in his granddaughter before anyone else in the family knew her. Born Benjamin Nathan Bielecki; now Deborah Leah Blumenfeld as she had taken the original family name at her rebirth. She put her hand to her face; the weeping was not bitter and the tears came like drops of rain from heaven as they fell upon the grave of Jacob Benjamin Blumenfeld. Her father’s strong arms pulled her close as she gave into the sad but hopeful grief and wept without sound. Naomi stepped close to the grave and spoke in a near whisper.
“Rachael and David and Judy had to work, Abba…they’ll be by tomorrow after school, okay?” She could see his smile as she closed her eyes; offering up her own silent prayer before grabbing Debbie’s hand as they walked back down the hill to the car.
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:22-26 NIV
L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu
May you be inscribed [in the Book of Life] for a good year.
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