Saturday, December 26, 2015


חזק חזק ונתחזק

Chazak, chazak v’nitchazek!

As we conclude the reading of each book of the Torah, it is customary for Jews to say these words, which mean: Be strong, be strong and may we be strengthened!

Today we read Parashah Vayechi, the last in the book of Exodus. Joseph mourns the death of his father, Jacob, and then at the end of the parashah,Joseph himself dies. And then the congregation recites those words, "Chazak, chazak, v'nitchazek."

Ever since my father died in November 2013, I've had a hard time saying and hearing those words without crying. Because I hear my father saying it to me, when I was depressed, or sad, or going through a particularly rough time in my life. Chazak. Be strong.

It's been two years since Dad died. Mom died suddenly and unexpectedly in March of this year. Every time we finish another book of the Torah I think, "Maybe this will be the time I finally hear those words without crying."

Today wasn't that day.

Now, more than ever, I miss my father, because I realize more and more each day I owe who I am to the person he was. How much of my knowledge of and interest in of history and world politics comes from sitting watching documentaries and war movies with him as a young girl. How I heard his voice in my head when I went into New York City two days before Christmas and instead of being distracted by my cell phone made sure I was aware of what was going on around me at all times because of the terrorist threat. Life goes on but be aware. CHAZAK!

I wondered today in synagogue if Dad's parents said that to him. In the picture above we are with my paternal grandparents, Harry and Mollie. I'm in the lower right corner.

2015 has been a tough year. But thanks to the guidance my parents gave me, my family, my friends, and my faith, I am still standing. Chazak. Chazak. V'nitchazek!

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