Naturally I would expect more severe questions from my daughter, a prominent government lawyer who helps to convict guilty persons to a “vacation” like our “seger”… barred in and locked-down.
But today’s question was one for which I have no answer. Briefly stated, it was “Abba, why does the editor at the TIMES OF ISRAEL put up with you? You are constantly annoying her with now 1,178 articles. Why don’t you get away from the computer and get a life for yourself ?”
Wow ! What a question ! I had thought that writing is a part of my life. At least, it has been for more than 70 years ! And it is an essential part of the promise I had made to my dying wife who insisted that I continue writing as good therapy for me after her death.
Truth is, I don’t know anything about the therapy. When I wanted to stop writing, my daughter reminded me of my promise to her Ima. When I put her question to her she replied “I don’t mean for you to get away from the computer forever. Just give the keyboard and your finger time to relax”.
There are, for me, only two important parts of my “therapy”. One is to speak with my three children every day and to enjoy the companionship of our Israeli Canaan dog. The other is to speak daily with my cousin in Ramat HaSharon and his children every day at the same time. Just as he is about to sit down for his “tea v’ooga” I have the pleasure of wishing him a “b’tayavon”.
Hearing his voice and knowing that he is well is a significant part of my therapy for me. He lost his beloved wife of more than fifty years only a few months ago after her long illness. But Hashem has blessed him with strength and he is surrounded by three magnificent children and seven super grandchildren. What more can one ask for?
I don’t really understand what my daughter means when she repeats the phrase “you need to get a life”.
What is a life without immense family love and care? She cannot mean a life at a bar because she knows I do not drink. She cannot mean a life seeking another woman to share mine with hers because she knows the promise I made to my wife… “there will never be anyone like you; another marriage is out of the question”.
So what is a life? I awake every morning and recite “modeh ani”, thanking God for restoring my soul to my body and blessing me with another day of life. I repeat my thanks in the course of my daily prayers.
I give thanks for the meal I am about to eat. I pray for the peace and security of Israel and our people. I ask God to bless my children and grandchildren with good health, long life, happiness and success in all that they do. And I beg God to answer my prayers positively.
I attempt to take Atara Carmit, our kalba K’naanit, outside twice daily to do what she is supposed to do but often, in her Israeli-born stubbornness, she hides under the table and I am unable to bend down to put the leash on her. However, she does respond to treats tossed under her hiding place.
Just like our leadership in Israel which responds to certain treats tossed in its direction. Often, the treats are accepted ravishly. Too often, they are rejected to our disappointment, despair, and frustration.
“Get a life” is a phrase I am tired of hearing. Is it something a lawyer might say to a convicted person… a life in prison?
I had the most beautiful life that anyone could ever have wanted. Fifty-six glorious years with the most wonderful woman on earth, one whom I knew only six days before we were married. Even now, four years after her death, I continue to mourn my greatest loss. “Get a life” cannot change me. I mourn for the day and yearn for the day when she and I will be re-united side by side in the grave. I cannot help it.
My older daughter, an outstanding physical therapist, phrases it differently. “It is not ‘cannot’; it is ‘will not’. And she is correct. I will not cease from my grieving. Why? Because she was my life. The light of my life. And when that light was extinguished, my life became dark. I do not fear the dark. I have become accustomed to it.
So when my younger government lawyer chides me, meaning her wellbeing for me, to “get a life”, it is a question which only time can answer.
And for me, there is not too much time left. Every day, hour and moment is a part of me…. A part that takes pleasure in it.
And I leave the “get a life” to those who may feel that they do not have one. Count me out of that crowd.
My answer to my daughter’s question is “metooka sheli… yesh li chayim”. Sweetheart.. I have a life !
But to the other part of her question, “why does the editor at the TIMES OF ISRAEL put up with you”, I have no answer (or I am afraid to answer ) .
Only the editor and God know the truth.
And neither of them is revealing it !