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The Papa, the Papa! Tradition!

Friday, 20 November, 2020 - 8:38 am

On January 15th, I was in New York for eighteen-hours and spent a few minutes with my dad. Though we Facetime six days a week, like clockwork each morning, I haven’t seen him face to face since that chilly day in Brooklyn. Today, the 10 months stretch, that included his illness and recovery from Covid-19, ended, and I got to embrace my beloved father; it felt so good, so right. It was also good timing as on Tuesday my father lost his Chavrusa of fifteen years, Reb Leizer Teitelbaum, a brilliant Torah scholar with whom my father studied daily at the wee hours of the morning and with whom he shared a deep appreciation for Torah insight.

I needed his hug, and he mine.

In this week’s dramatic Torah portion, Toldos, we read about how Rebecca encourages Jacob to mislead his dad Isaac and merit the blessings intended for Esau. Isaac undoubtedly knew who Esau was and appreciated Jacob so much, but as a good father, he saw the potential in each of his children and worked overtime to reveal the best in each of them. It’s a unique ability of a parent, either by nature or nurture, to interact with each child, meet them wherever they are at, and have their children, all of them, look up to them for support, parental perspective and life guidance. Isaac knew that Jacob was his protege, someone who emulated his ways, but he also saw Esau - not as an idolatrous murderer, but - as a potentially fearless warrior who can change the world with his inner fight.

My dad can be a tough cookie. He is a no-holds-barred dad who says what he thinks and shares his opinion whether I want to hear it or not. Yet, behind the steamroller façade is a man who loves his children unconditionally, prays for our wellbeing more that he would admit, and wants nothing more than to see our successes as we enjoy Nachas from our children, his grandchildren. When I told the kids that they would see Zayde in person for the first time in eighteen months, all of them, from Shoshana to Chana Laya were truly delighted, because children always see through the externalities, and they know that, like Isaac our Patriarch, their Zayde sees their infinite potential, not their occasional flaws.

I pray that I can emulate my dad; it ain’t easy!  

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach 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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