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Honor Guard!

Friday, 31 January, 2020 - 8:45 am

Late last night I returned from Cedar Rapids, Iowa where I had the honor of officiating at the funeral of 97-year-old Bert Katz, father of Sally Feniger and Toni Neta. Bert lived with integrity, was wholeheartedly devoted to his community and had a love for life that was extraordinary. It was my first time officiating at a funeral that included military honors and it was so stirring; their presentation brought me, and everyone else, to tears. The Veterans and the Honor Guard are so caring, so dedicated and have a love affair with our country. While I said the mourners Kaddish for Bert’s Neshama, his beautiful soul, they honored his service as a captain of an all-black platoon during the allied invasion in Normandy.

 

In this week’s Torah portion, Bo, we read about the Exodus from Egypt. G-d, through Moses our Master, freed us from harsh slavery and gifted us freedom. Yet, G-d tells Jewry that when they leave Egypt, they will journey to serve Him at Mount Sinai, referring to the giving of the Torah. With this simple proclamation, G-d taught us such an invaluable lesson: freedom isn’t given to us in order that we be served, it’s the blessing that enables us to serve others. An enslaved person cannot choose to serve, they are forced to; a free person, on the other hand, chooses every day either to be noble and in service or to be lazy and seeking to be served.

Bert was part of “the greatest generation” who were incredible souls seeking to serve and make the world a better place for their families. They didn’t Kvetch, they didn’t pontificate, they didn’t procrastinate; they rose each morning, thanked G-d for their freedom and did the best they could, through hard work and selflessness, to ensure a brighter tomorrow. G-d made it clear: I didn’t take you out of Egypt so you should be enslaved to your selfish addictions and absorbed with your needs 24/7; rather I took you out of Egypt so you can shine uninterrupted, connect with your Higher Power and celebrate every moment of life, healthfully, with meaning and joy.

The greatest generation doesn’t have to be a one-time thing!

​May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Moshiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!

 

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