The Signs Are There
Recently, my husband and I traveled to Woodbury Jewish Center to serve as scholars-in-residence. We preached from the bimah, learned with the congregation, and enjoyed getting to know this wonderful community.
On Sunday, I attended their morning minyan, filled with awe as I witnessed a beautiful ritual. Two members of the congregation commemorated the yahrzeits of their fathers. At the end of the morning service, the cantor called the two men forward. We all rose as the ark opened, the cantor handing each man a Sefer Torah.
Before the recitation of the Memorial Prayer, each man shared a few words about their father. One man explained that he was trying to live up to his father’s legacy, giving to charities and engaging in works of loving-kindness. The other man explained that coming to minyan to say Kaddish enabled him to become an integral member of the community, something he would have never imagined. He thanked his father for the blessing of finding a family within the shul.
As each man held the Torah in his hands, I imagined him embracing his loved one. Tenderly cradling the Torah, sharing how much their father continues to make a difference in their lives. Tears streaming down as a reminder that loss continues to break open the heart years after someone leaves this world.
I was certainly touched by their words. But to hear memories years after the death of a loved one filled my being with soulful messages from beyond the grave. We often ask whether someone can contact us after they leave this world. We look for signs and analyze our dreams in order to find meaning in the everyday, praying they will reach out from the heavens and teach us anew.
However, sometimes, our loved ones speak through us. Using our mouths and hearts as portals from above.
Maybe we need stop searching for the signs and instead, start searching within our hearts. Our loved ones are trying to speak. It’s time we started to listen.