The Saul I Do Not Know

One of my favorite Israelite kings was the first to be anointed by Samuel. His name was Saul. He was a humble king who did not over-tax his people, who built no monumental palaces, and who was a devoted family man.

He lost his crown and went into manic depression after he disobeyed the command to kill all the Agagites. He spared the life of their king and brought him back alive in chains to be paraded before the tribes of Israel. But Samuel condemned Saul for not slaying the king and thus removed the crown of Israelite kingship from his head. He was then succeeded by the shepherd psalmist, David.

But there is another Saul whom I greatly respect. He is a faithful reader of the TIMES OF ISRAEL and, in particular, is one of my most devoted readers. He is the Saul I do not know. I have never had the honor of meeting him panim el panim (face to face).  I only receive his magnificent e-mail responses to an article that I had written and published.

He is Saul Chapnick who resides in the Miami area in the American state of Florida. I hope he has been spared by the onslaught of Hurricane Irma.

He is a social scientist who has devoted his life, in particular, to the care of the elderly. I think that is one of the reasons that he likes me…..because I am an almost 85 year old elderly kvetch.

From time to time readers comment on one or more of my 417 published articles. But Saul Chapnick’s comments of praise are so generous and so kind that they truly have touched this elderly kvetch’s heart.

Today I observe the first yahrzeit of the death of my beloved wife Rahel. It is extremely painful for me to realize that one year has passed. It has been a bitter and terribly painful year for me.

My three children are very devoted to me but nothing can replace the life of the bride whom I married in Tel-Aviv in 1960.

Friends try to comfort me. They mean well although they cannot feel the depth of my grief. Rabbis have shared with me their compassion. These are men and women with whom I have a personal relationship.

Saul Chapnick, who does not know me, has shared warm and comforting words which truly have touched my heart. My gratitude to him knows no bounds.

Today, in my synagogue, I made a special prayer for the Saul I do not know… that Almighty God should reward him for his kindness to a stranger and bless him and all his family with a New Year of good health, length of days, nachas, and a year filled only with happy occasions.

As I continue to write (which has truly been my salvation in the past year), I hope that my words will continue to please him as much as his kind and generous words continue to please me. It is small things which make a life worthwhile.


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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