When my first article appeared published in the TIMES OF ISRAEL in 2014-2015, I had at that time no indication regarding future publications or if so, how many I would write.. I told my wife that I would consider writing up to one hundred articles on various themes: religion, politics, world affairs and personal opinions.
After the 100th article was published, my wife encouraged me to continue as much and as often as I could. I needed to set a goal for myself and I just picked a number from my imagination, not quite believing that I could reach it. The number that I chose was 800, not quite believing that it would be reached within my life span.
Today it has been reached. This article is # 800 on a personal vein. Prior to my wife’s death, she made me promise her that I would continue writing. Why, I asked her. What for? My life was rapidly losing its meaning. Her ultimate death was bound to be the loss of my own., if not physically, certainly emotionally and spiritually.
On her death bed she reminded me of the promise she had requested of me. I told her I would stop at the 800th. “Why be so unsure of yourself?” she asked. “The difference between 800 and 1000 is only 200 articles. “ She had great faith in me, a faith greater and stronger than a faith of my own.
She understood my passion for writing. My book, my almost 1000 articles in newspapers and journals were very dear to her. Some she put aside to re-read them at another time.
Now, her ghost still haunts me. Did I make a new promise which I may not be able to keep? After all, 200 more articles approximates 2 or 3 years of thought and work. And at age 86, I have no possible guarantee that my published articles in the TIMES OF ISRAEL will reach its new and final goal of 1000.
My wife cared. For me it’s only an artificial goal with an artificial number selected by a foolish old man who had high hopes of reaching a very ripe old age but who no longer believes I will reach it.
On the most positive side, it is absolutely incumbent upon me to express my gratitude to my very dear editorial staff for the encouragement they always give me. Their warmth and their emotional support has brought me safely through the pains and sufferings which I still endure.
With each published article, I pick up her photo, kiss it, read aloud the article to her, thank her for believing in me, then kissing her photo once again and returning it to its place of honor. And in my choking voice and cheeks moistened by tears I say “thank you, Rahel my darling. I did it all for you.”
The collection of the 800 articles is bound in fifteen volumes numbering approximately 2500 pages.
They are held together by a pair of strong metal bookends falling one volume over another. Hardly any place to include another bound volume.
My grandchildren on their visits occasionally pick up a volume and flip through its pages. “Which article do you like best?” I ask them. And the reply which makes me smile the most is “Saba, that’s not a fair question. We like every one of them”.
And so I will embark on the next 200, dedicated to them and to their children yet unborn.
One goal has been reached. The next is purely based upon hope.