It’s the anniversary of my dad’s passing away. Always a sentimental day, and coupled with my birthday 2 days later, it makes for a real emotional roller coaster.
As part of my memories I was reminded of 2 things that were impressed upon me in his behavior towards us, his kids:
- My dad used to lain. For those unfamiliar with this vernacular – read the Torah, kri-at ha-torah. He was very particular about reading correctly – both the pronunciation and the notes (ta-amey ha-mikra). I decided to follow in his footsteps and since my bar mitzvah I’ve been laining on a pretty regular basis too.
I remember him listen to me practice, and correct me when I made a mistake.
But I also remember it went both ways. He asked me to listen to him read, and correct him, so he could be sure he was reading correctly in shul.
This respect for us, his children, is something I find amazing. He had no problem relying on us to make sure there we no errors.
- My dad loved to play games. Ball games, card games, board games, everything. He always found time to play and enjoy the bonding around it. The interesting thing is that these games weren’t just his weekly bridge tournaments, and certainly not a poker game with friends. Most of these games were played with us, his kids. Hours of Estimation Whist, Snooker, Cricket, Mahjong, Monopoly, and more.
It may be after a long hard week at work, but still he’d play with us on Shabbat afternoon. As a parent I know how tough that is.
I have a lot to learn from my father, and I have a lot to learn from him about being a father.
Luckily I have 4 wonderful kids (soon 5) that are really good teachers.
I’m sure he can see them, and is very proud of them. I’m sure the only thing he would have preferred is to be able to teach them about reading the Torah, and to play with them for a few more years then he was able to.