Miriam Herschlag is the distinguished editor of the TIMES OF ISRAEL blogs. In essence, she is my “boss”.
And how and why she puts up with me is inexplainable. I chalk it up to her “yiddishe neshama” which has rachmanut on an aged, tired writer.
Recently I have chatted with friends about my eventual “retirement” from writing. After 558 published articles, I set myself a goal of 613 (the taryag mitzvot), which means I have 55 more articles to go. At age 85 I hope I can reach the set goal
Surprisingly, not one of my friends, none of my constant and faithful readers who communicate with me, and certainly not my devoted and faithful editor have agreed with me. They all insist that I must continue with my writing. Why?
A major reason that I am often glued to the computer is a very difficult and personal problem for me.
I had been encouraged by my late beloved wife, Rahel, to consign my activities to writing…not to write another book (my first and only book was published in 1967) but to write a collection of random thoughts, recollections of life in Israel and my frequent travels to distant places.
Following her death in 2016 I fell into a deep depression from which I have not fully recovered. I write because I keep my promise to her to do so. I write because it is my salvation from insanity. It keeps me occupied and allows what is left of my brain to remain fertile.
Next to caring for our beloved Israeli Canaan dog, Carmit, my constant companion and often a bed partner, writing gives me another reason to get out of bed every morning and to jot down thoughts for a forthcoming article.
My adult grandchildren have requested that I give copies of my articles for them to re-read and to eventually share with their children. I have bound 558 articles into 9 volumes and am working on the 10th volume, to be my last. It is a part of the yerusha (inheritance) which I leave to them.
Readers who faithfully follow my published articles often reply in comments to me and sometimes they take me to task for a negative or incorrect article. I am grateful for their comments. I learn much from them.
Alba (USA), Binyamin & Shula (Israel), Chava (Brazil). 2 Davids (USA & Singapore), Elias (France), Gidon (Israel),Eli (Israel), Benny (Israel), Heike (Germany), Mark (Israel), Tamas (Israel), Myrna (Italy), Noy (Israel), Saul (USA), Sonia (Brazil), Steven (USA) and Joanna (Italy) are the most constant of readers who very often communicate their thoughts with me. I am more grateful to them than I can explain.
But it is especially to my editor, Miriam, that my gratitude is out-pouring. I don’t understand why she puts up with me. But she does. Her friendship is much cherished.
My son, a doctor, asked me if I were to compile all the articles into a book, what title would I give it. I suggested “Random Thoughts” but another reader, Binyamin of Berkeley, angry with my comments on refugees being returned to Sudan and Eritrea, replied that my words were those of a “raving madman”. (I’ve been called much worse but his term is one I can add to my collection). To placate him, the “proposed” book could be called “Random Thoughts of a Raving Madman”. I’m sure it could be a best-seller.
I am passionate about what I write. The opinions are strictly my own, like them or not. My fingers do the typing but the words emanate from my heart. I will never receive a Nobel Prize but I am proud that at least my efforts are noble .
I live my life in accordance with two Hebrew proverbs:
“O chavruta o mituta”… give me friendship or give me death.
“Dvarim she yotzim min ha lev nichnasim el toch ha lev”…. Words from one heart enter into many other hearts”.
So, for the time being, I’ll keep aiming for number 613 and I hope that my editor and my readers will continue to put up with me!
How and why is still beyond my ken of understanding!