The email arrived somewhere around 1:30 A.M. Central time but it was sent out from the Yerushalayim, ir ha-koydesh or Jerusalem, the holy city at about 9 AM Sunday morning.
My cousin Michael wished us a Shana Tova, a happy new year and hoped this year we would get a chance to meet in person.
I responded in kind and thought again about how Dad would have been so very interested in speaking with him.
Michael is a Wilner too, grandson of my great-uncle Beryl, a rabbi who left Vilna and moved to London.
Beryl’s older brother was Ben, my great-grandfather, a tailor who came to America.
Michael was born and raised in England but moved to Israel decades upon decades ago.
Michael and my father were close enough in age that I expect they might even have known some of the same family stories. I know the brothers traveled to Israel from the US and England and spent time together in the sixties and heard some stories from Dad and my grandfather.
So here we are on the verge of the fourth new year without Dad.
Put on a video I have probably watched once before every Rosh Hashanah since it came out and am reminded how history repeats.
That is a question I have asked in personal and professional settings.
If I ask you can almost guarantee it will be in person so that I can look the person in the eye and gauge their response.
Some have mistaken me for someone who can never let go or move on and I can understand why a few might think there is truth there.
But if you look at my life, especially the latter part it is not hard to see I can move heaven and earth to make changes.
Some of those moves weren’t because I wanted to but because they had to be done. I took a beating more than once and I can see the results in the mirror.
I don’t always recognize that guy, he doesn’t like right to me and I am not sure that I like what I see.
But I don’t have much choice do I, can’t run or hide, can only move forward.
Bunch of people have suggested we ought to focus on leaving Texas as fast as we can but I rarely respond.
There have been some big challenges but in some ways my family has thrived and made huge strides forward. Can’t and won’t ignore that.
Nor will I say this is the forever home because that is questionable too, but I don’t have to look that far ahead just yet.
For the moment the question of am I part of your future or do you hope to have me be a part isn’t something I am worrying about though some might ask that of themselves.
Told my kids to remember we’re lucky because of birth, circumstances and because we worked to make our luck.
Also told them to remember working smart and working hard creates more luck. I see them living that so I know something is getting through.
How Many Pills?
There was a period of time I forgot to take the meds my Doc prescribed for me.
Got caught up in life and focused on a bunch of things outside of me and I just forgot about taking them.
Mentioned it and got the “how many pills do you take” remark which was meant to remind me I don’t take enough to forget.
Probably truth there, but I can get lost in my world and if I don’t see/feel an impact from not taking them there is no reminder.
Or the reminder comes when I am 100 miles from home and don’t have access to them.
I suppose I could use the Apple Car play to ask Siri to send me a reminder or set a timer but again I am focused upon driving and or whatever book/interview I am listening to.
And if I am not doing that, listening to music or on a business call there is a chance I am working on writing something in my head.
Working out some Johnny something or other to put down or laughing at some dialogue I hear in my head.
Sometimes I share those things here, but most often it goes elsewhere if I move it from head to page.
And so we arrive at the day before 5782 and my usual thoughts and questions about what will come and what will be.
Won’t be long before it is time to chant Unataneh Tokef and I focus on a section and think about how whether you believe or not it doesn’t hurt to engage in a little introspection.
On Rosh Hashanah it is inscribed,
And on Yom Kippur it is sealed.
How many shall pass away and how many shall be born,
Who shall live and who shall die,
Who shall reach the end of his days and who shall not,
Who shall perish by water and who by fire,
Who by sword and who by wild beast,
Who by famine and who by thirst,
Who by earthquake and who by plague,
Who by strangulation and who by stoning,
Who shall have rest and who shall wander,
Who shall be at peace and who shall be pursued,
Who shall be at rest and who shall be tormented,
Who shall be exalted and who shall be brought low,
Who shall become rich and who shall be impoverished.
But repentance, prayer and righteousness avert the severe decree.