Honorable Mensch-ion


My grandfather was known as Pa. He was born in Poland, came to the United States in the 1920s, and was a tire salesman in the Philadelphia area. Pa loved his Judaism and he loved people: A cashier, a store clerk, his doctor, his rabbi, his family, and strangers. He could never meet someone and not ask them a question or tell them a story. Our family named this extroverted characteristic “Pa-itis,” and we like to say this trait does not skip a generation.

From a man who had no formal education, Pa had a PhD in human relationships. As we observed his yahrtzeit this week, we read vhigadta lvincha bayom hahu¸ you must tell your children on that day. We are commanded to tell our story to the next generation. We act out this mitzvah each year at our Passover seder, but in reality, the story is told each and every day. At the Shabbat table, we say Zecher yetziat mitzrayim, remember the Exodus. Yet, there is a difference between remembering and telling.

Remembering is in our hearts and minds. Telling comes from our mouths into the hearts and minds of others.

Pa never passed up a good story, and he never passed up the opportunity to hear a good story, too. He taught his children well. Passover may be months away, but as the Torah teaches, our story must be told today.

There was no social media during Pa’s lifetime. He could not read posts or click, like, or search internet videos. He had to hear stories from human beings–look at their faces, hear the intonations of their voices, feel the emotions of their souls.

Let this parsha remind us to never miss the opportunity to write our story, tell our story, and hear the stories of those we love.

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