Final Partings

Nov 25th, 2011 by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg in Portion of the Week, Prayer
“Would that there were in this world no final partings (From Ahihara No Narihara, The Tales of Ise).”

I am more moved by listening to a recording of my father zt”l speaking, than I am by visiting his grave. I honor him more by studying his Torah than by spending time at his burial plot. I do not feel compelled to visit his grave. When I do visit, I have difficulty leaving. I feel incomplete, so I return to my car and turn on a recording of his reading a verse, and again, am completely connected to him. His grave represents a parting. His Torah is a reminder that the parting was not permanent.

I feel closer to the Ramchal and honor him more when I study his teachings than when I visit his burial plot. I am not compelled to visit Tevariah just to spend time sitting near his grave. There are no final partings from the Ramchal. I grasp a copy of The Path of the Just in my hand as I walk away from his grave because I will not part from him.

When I am fortunate enough to visit Israel, I always go to the Ramchal’s resting place, just as I do Rabbi Shlomo haLevi Alkabetz, the Ramak, the Ari, and the Bet Yosef. I will go to Safed just to visit with them, something I do not do just to visit Hoshea’s grave, despite his being one of my favorite prophets. While in the Safed cemetery, I’ll walk up the hill to Hoshea, read one of his prophecies, and do my best to honor him, but, I do not go to Safed to visit his grave. I cannot walk away from their graves as if in a final parting; I carry part of them with me as I step back onto the street above the hill.

I am more moved by the verse that describes Sarah’s death than I am by visiting the Cave of Machpelah. I feel that I honor her life more when I study her life than when I visit her grave. I feel the same about all the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Yet, I am still compelled to visit the Cave. I pause before the entrance to look up at the hill from where the huge stones were taken, as I was taught that King David’s first royal home stood there. He began in the place of beginnings, for although it was purchased as a burial plot, it was the beginning of our claim over the Land. King David wanted the beginning of his royal dynasty to be at the same place as that earlier beginnings.

I visit the Cave of Machpelah as a place of beginnings. I decided take the same approach to visiting my father’s burial place: I am going back to my beginning, to the person who not only gave me physical life, but spiritual direction. I returned to his grave to reconnect to my beginning. There was no sense of final partings. It was a reconnection to all my father gave me to approach my relationship with God and His Torah. I didn’t need to listen to a tape as I left. I pictured my father discussing with me what new steps to take. It was, not a sad experience, but an invigorating visit.

What would happen if I began my morning prayers, not as reciting what I’ve said so many times before, but as reconnecting to my beginnings?

It was thrilling. I’m going to try it with Shabbat this week; not a parting from the past, but as reconnecting to the beginning of the world.

Author Info:
Learn & discover the Divine prophecies with Rabbi Simcha Weinberg from the holy Torah, Jewish Law, Mysticism, Kabbalah and Jewish Prophecies. The Foundation Stone™ is the ultimate resource for Jews, Judaism, Jewish Education, Jewish Spirituality & the holy Torah.