Esor Ben-Sorek

Shira is a song

Eliezer Leonard has a wife.
A song named Shira enhanced my life.
She wrote kind words, full of praise
And turned my nights into sun-filled days.

Today, on July 7, I received a great e-mail gift from fellow reader and writer of the TIMES OF ISRAEL.

Shira Pasternak Be’eri discovered one of my earlier articles written several years ago, MIRACLE ON BUS # 4, and wrote a very touching and meaningful e-mail to me today. Her gift of kind words have so much gratitude and appreciation that my poor words are unable to convey.

In the midst of her grief and mourning for the recent death (June 11) of her beloved father, musician and composer, Velvel Pasternak of Toronto, Canada, his daughter Shira found the time to write her warm and inspiring words to me, encouraging me to continue my writing with the hope of reaching my goal of 1,000 posts.

(This brief article will be #856…. (144 more to go. Approximately 2 ½ years of writing. Will I make it to age 88 with clarity of mind ? Maybe I’ll make the age; the clarity of mind is uncertain !!!!!)

In the heat of July, Shira’s warm words brought me comfort combined with air conditioning.

I have had the immense pleasure of reading many of her brilliantly-written articles. One of my very favorites, for strictly personal reasons, was “The ABC’s of a Good Marriage”. Going down the 26 letters of the English alphabet, Shira found many descriptive words of advice attached to each letter. I began counting them but had to stop after 100. There were many more words still to be counted.

My favorites were “trust, be tender, be tolerant”. And of course one cannot neglect “be understanding.”

How “take out the garbage” found its way into the alphabetical words of wisdom, is a secret that only Shira and Eliezer know, and as they say in Mandarin French ”and they ain’t squealin’”.

I tried to locate the words which most appropriately fitted my late marriage of 56 years. “Yes, dear” was not always the most common word!

But scrolling down the long list of alphabetical advice, I am thrilled to read the adjectives which Shira wrote. Each one by itself is a secret to a good and solid marriage.

If I had to translate Shira’s ABC’s into Aleph Bet Gimels. I would begin with “ahava”, “b’ yachad” and “gilui lev”. Fortunately, while the English language has 26 letters, the older Hebrew language limits itself to 22 But… oh the powers in those 22 letters!!!

While it is said that God spoke in 72 languages, His first and favorite was the language in which He revealed His commandments…. Lashon ha kodesh. The holy language.. ivrit. Hebrew.

Velvel Pasternak sang in Yiddish. Daughter Shira speaks in Hebrew and writes in English. Does the choice or preference of a language truly matter?

I have seen deaf individuals and those unable to speak convey their words by signs made with the hands. Warm hands are as loving as warm hearts.

As I grow older in age, I also grow more depressed. I am lonely even when surrounded by caring friends and loving children. I choose to live a solitary life together with my books, my writing, my children, my grandchildren, my Israeli Canaan dog, and with the years of cherished memories.

I look forward to the privilege of still being able to travel, to see old faces, to meet new faces, to embrace and to be embraced by the loved ones of so very long ago.

It is still a thrill for me to greet friends of 62 years of devoted camaraderie. Friends in Israel surpass any friends in other lands. Genuine love and caring (not for our political leaders or parties, l’havdil,) but for one another is native to our holy land.

And while Shira Pasternak Be’eri and I have never met, we have become pen-pal friends. I hope it may continue.

Meanwhile, the melodies of Velvel Pasternak can be heard from the highest heavens.

May his memory ever be for a blessing.

And may Eliezer Leonard’s Shira preserve the songs.

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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