Imperishable

Learn something new. That’s what my dad, Bert Hamilton, would want.

Aninut, the Hebrew term for my current condition until Sunday’s funeral in Chicago, releases me from positive norms like putting on Tefillin, while retaining the refraining from negative, upsetting norms. Seems fitting.

Elective Torah feels ok. The last of the three biblical occasions when we hear God repeat Anokhi, Anokhi, “I am, I am” opens this week’s prophetic reading.  Isaiah brings us all three repetitions which focus first on help, then on mending, and this week on solace (Is. 43:11, 43:25, 51:12).

Our dad was a gifted co-sponsor of all three of these instincts ever since he drew his first breath in 1923. His goodness was pure. His integrity was made of iron. His capacity for growth was awe-filling. And his love pulsated so tenderly.

One lesson he taught me feels particularly handy now: What lies beyond the last breath is imperishable.

It’s hard to fathom how I could learn more from you, dear father.

As I transition from the condition of Aninut to that of Mourner, I have no doubt that I will.

About the Author
Rabbi William Hamilton has served as rabbi (mara d'atra) of Kehillath Israel in Brookline, MA since 1995.
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