Binyamin and Shula

Our Torah speaks of “zuggot”… Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivka, Yaakov and Rachel and the Talmud praises the love of Rabbi Meier for his wife Beruriah. Love comes in pairs of two souls bound together in beautiful love.

For me, eternal love is between me and my beloved Rahel. We married in Tel Aviv in 1960 after knowing one another only six days and have been happily married for 56 years.

And then there is the love of my two very wonderful cousins in Ramat HaSharon, Binyamin and Shula.

I had written an article, “Lost….And Found Again”, published in the June 17th edition of THE TIMES OF ISRAEL which described how I successfully found my father’s “lost” family after 50 years. It was Binyamin and his loving father Mordechai who responded to my Search for Lost Families on Kol Yisrael in July 1959 when they came to meet me in Rishon Lezion..

Finding my father’s family and being united with them was one of the happiest days of my life. For me there is absolutely nothing more important and more valuable than a loving family.

After the death of Mordechai and his wife Sarah, their son Binyamin kept in contact with me. He is about six months younger than I am. He was with his parents at my wedding in 1960 when his father led me to the chuppah and his mother led my bride to the chuppah.

Binyamin married a beautiful young girl named Shulamith (Shula) in 1967 and they have 3 successful children and many loving and beautiful grandchildren.

Binyamin and Shula are very important in my life. I don’t have a car so I cannot drive from Rishon Lezion to visit them in Ramat HaSharon. Some months ago they came to visit me in our apartment in Rishon. We hugged and we kissed and spent much time talking about our past family history and the history of our new generation.

With the terrible cancer causing suffering for my wife, for me, our children and grandchildren, it is the telephone calls from Binyamin and Shula that lift me from “down” to “up”. Their constant concern for our health and their love for us is equal to our concerns for their good health and our very great love for them.

Binyamin and I are the last generation of a family which began in Russia in the 1860s and continued in Palestine and America. Having discovered them in 1959 was a day of rejoicing for all our family. My father, his brother and his four sisters remembered their visits to Binyamin’s grandfather Yirmiyahu in Zhetl, of playing together with Binyamin’s wonderful father Mordechai and sisters Tovah (Gutka) and Zelda in 1908.

The joy of being re-united after 50 years cannot be sufficiently described. Even now, 57 years later, Binyamin and I carry on the love of the Kravetzky family.

Shula, his beautiful wife, shares our happiness and their love for one another and for their children and grandchildren is an inspiration.

They celebrate Shabbat and chagim together with all the family in good Jewish tradition. And at the center of their table is a large plate filled with Shula’s very delicious gefilte fish. Binyamin used to make the “chrain” (horseradish) but now it makes tears in his eyes. I guess the job of making “chrain” goes to one of their children !

Talking every week, hearing the sweet voices of my very beloved cousins, rejoices my heart. For a few minutes, my sadness is replaced with joy.

As we grow older, both of us now in our 80s, we have many aches and pains. “Ha gil oseh et atzmo”… growing old is not always so pleasant. What ever happened to the “gil ha zahav”, the golden years?

But I would gladly have my aches and pains as long as I can have two beloved cousins, Binyamin and Shula. God bless them.

Long life to all of us. Family is a treasure.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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