Friday, September 18, 2009

The Year in Review

In lieu of the usual D’var Torah I write prior to Yom Tov, I thought that this year I would reflect a bit on the year just past.

5770 is about to begin and another year has gone by very quickly. There is a lot to reflect upon. The sudden occurrence of worst financial crisis since the ‘Great Depression’; the election of the first black President of the United States; the return to power of the former Prime Minister of Israel - recently believed to be a has been; and the ‘re-election’ of the Iranian dictator who has sworn to wipe Israel off the map. And that barely scratches the surface.

It has been a wild and wooly year in the religious world too. Just to mention a few of the more recent events: In Israel a sick child was nearly starved to death - allegedly by his own mother. There was rioting in the streets of Jerusalem - with burning dumpsters, spitting on reporters, and dirty diapers being hurled at police. While the whole world was watching.

In Japan Israeli Yeshiva students accused of drug smuggling are awaiting trial.

Across the ocean right here in America there were financial scams galore. A Chasidic Rebbe was convicted of money laundering; Orthodox Jews were caught in yet more finacial scams; Religious rabbis - some with trim beards and some with long beards - all doing the ‘perp walk’; and the first Orthodox female rabbi (Maharat) was ordained.

For me personally - it has also been an eventful year - but not an exclusively good one. One must however count their blessings. And I have a lot of those.

On the plus side, I have a wonderful family that gives me much Nachas. My wife of 40 years has continues to be my best friend and confidant. She supports me at every turn. She has been a blessing for us and our grandchildren - and a true Baalas Chesed with few peers in the community. If I have accomplished anything in life it is my wife who helped get me there. I don’t think I could have done anything worthwhile without her encouragement and support.

We have children and grandchildren that we love and that I know love us back. Four new grandchildren were added to the list this year – two of them twins.

I cannot express enough my Hakaras HaTov to the Ribono Shel Olam for these great blessings. I know of far too many deserving families that have not reached anywhere near the milestones in this area of their lives that my wife and I have. I wish them nothing but success in finding their own ultimate Nachas.

This has also been an eventful year for not such good reasons. The financial crisis that began at the beginning of the year has affected most of the people I know to one degree or another – including me. Shortly thereafter my mother passed away. And serious illnesses have plagued some members of my extended family. I pray for their return to good health.

And then there is my grandson Reuven.

After several surgeries and two very aggressive and debilitating chemotherapy sessions over the course of his very young life - tumors reappeared on his lung earlier this year. To say that we were disappointed is an understatement. Thankfully however, there were no other tumors detected anywhere else in his body. Doctors designed a course of outpatient treatments that was not as aggressive - so that he could have a normal life. Near the end of that treatment - surgery was again performed to remove all visible tumors. He has finally completed the third series and after a scan of the lung he has been declared free of any visible cancer. He will be re-examined in November.

Reuven has just started school and is as happy and well adjusted a child as one can imagine. Looking at him - one would never guess he ever had cancer. We are hopeful that this time his recovery is complete. But experience has taught us to not rest on our laurels. So I continue to pray for him every day. As do thousands of people around the globe for which my family and I are truly grateful. Now - in fact -is the time to really turn it on!

At this time I would ask everyone that I hurt in any way –intentionally or unintentionally - for Mechila. I am truly sorry for any hurt that I have caused anyone. And I grant Mechila to any and all who have hurt me. My hope, wish, and prayer is that all of Klal Yisroel have a Ksiva V’Chasima Tova. May the year 5770 bring health, peace, happiness, and prosperity to all.