The year 5771 is quickly fading away and we are about to enter the New Year. Tomorrow is Rosh Hashana – where the King of kings judges our past – both as individuals and as a people. God determines what our New Year will look like. Who will live and who will die. And how.
Teshuva, Teffila, and Tzedaka can overturn an evil decree.
Teshuva requires regret. And if it is Bein Adma L’Chavero it requires forgiveness from man before we can ask for - and receive forgiveness from God. At this time I ask that all those that I have in any way hurt in the past – whether intentionally or inadvertently - to accept my sincere apology. I regret my actions and my words. Although it is never my conscious intent, I fully understand that in my zeal to get my message across I could have easily insulted, embarrassed, or in some other way hurt someone. In some cases I may have responded in anger to an insult and purposely derided my detractor. To paraphrase a famous expression - the pen can be mightier than the tongue.
I therefore ask for Mechila – forgiveness - from any and all people. No matter how much we disagree on any issue or how strongly we feel about it - I believe that most of us are L’Shem Shamayim. For my part I completely and without any reservation forgive any and all who seek Mechila from me.
It has been another rough year for my grandson Reuven. Although he feels good and even looks and acts quite healthy, he has not yet beat the cancer. As of his last MRI he still has tumors growing in various parts of his body. He recently had surgery to remove a fast growing tumor on his skull. This was the second time he had surgery in the same place for the same reason. Only this time it penetrated the brain a bit. Fortunately it did not affect him mentally in any way. The surgery was a success and all visible signs of the tumor have been removed. But we all live with the fear that it could come back again very quickly. May God save us!
Earlier this year one of Reuven’s legs broke – weakened by either the cancer; the chemo; or both - he has been slow on the mend for the same reasons. He has been unable to walk for most of the last school year requiring a shadow – someone who stays with him whenever he is away from home to take care of any needs he has requiring mobility. That situation is improving. As a result of on-going physical therapy He has begun walking with a walker. We hope to continue to see him improve in that regard.
Even in the depths of this ‘cloud’ hanging over our heads - one can find a ‘silver lining’. A wonderful by-product of Reuven’s illness is the following. Without getting into details Reuven’s shadow was a marvelous young teenager who was so inspired by Reuven that it changed his life.
Reuven is still on an oral chemotherapy and a special diet of naturally based food items that have had some miraculous results on cancer patients with even worse prognoses than he had. We are all hopeful that this will produce similar fruit for him. His parents are in consultation with his doctors every step of the way and they are doing this with full approval of the pediatric oncologists at Children’s Memorial Hospital.
Mostly we are grateful to God for his blessings. The cancer has not affected any of his vital organs in any serious way. And his mental sate is very positive. His environment is the same. Some of our friends have noted that his house is the ‘happiest place in town!’
We believe that the world-wide prayers for his recovery are landing on God’s ‘ear’ and that He is actively intervening in Reuven’s care for the better. We hope that continued prayer on his behalf will result in his complete recovery. So in the coming days of prayer and penance where we ask God to grant us a good year - please keep Reuven ben Tova Chaya in mind.
Kesiva VeChasima Tova