My friend Pam asked me to ride along with her on a “holy-roller mission”. I am definitely not the “holy-roller” type but I was intrigued, because my friend isn’t either. My friend is Jewish and had volunteered to “roll the Torah”, so I found myself on the way to her synagogue. Entering, really took me back in time. Here, I sadly attended the funeral for her husband Fred who died prematurely (in his forties) of kidney disease. Fred was not of the Jewish faith, but this small temple community embraced him as if he were their own. I happily attended her youngest daughter’s Bat Mitzvah there as well. Life is a such a mixed bag of happy and sad.
She talked as we approached the altar where the Torah’s were housed. There were three. One of them came all the way from Prague in honor of those lost in the Holocaust. For those who don’t know what the Torah is; they are the first five books of the Jewish Bible, or the old testament. It is written on a scroll in Hebrew and is unrolled every week during synagogue. The passage is marked to enable the readers and Rabbi to find it quickly. I was fascinated by the ancient, pen and ink language, the tiny detail. The power of tradition!
The song comes to mind… “Tradition” sung by the Russian peasant, Tevye as seen in “Fiddler on the Roof”. The music is heartfelt and powerful, just like how I felt on that altar, listening to my friend, enraptured with her traditions. I am not Jewish but it touched me. It changed my whole day. I think God touches everyone, no exceptions, and there is something to be said for tradition. Whether it be in 1905 Tsarist Russia, or today. We all come from someone, somewhere.
We cruised by the post office to mail my resume, and I ran into a mentor of mine that I haven’t seen for 10 years or so. We hugged and chatted briefly and when my friend dropped me back home I marveled at how a simple errand could transform twenty- four little hours, (isn’t that another song)? My heart expanded with joy. Life is full of sadness and loss. What we do with it, how we react to it, makes all the difference. Time and faith helps, but LOVE is what remains. Tradition is about sharing, or passing it on. Passing on the love.