Hebrew is a very logical, systematic language. Once you know a root, you have a whole vocabulary arena open to you. This week’s root is זכר (z.k.r), which is the root for “to remember.”
The Yiddish word for the annual remembrance of the death of a loved one is called a yahrzeit, the time of the year. In Hebrew it is more often called an azkara, a memorial. I like that one better. I want to remember my dad, not just mark time. The prayer that is said is called yizkor.
This week completed the year of firsts without my dad. Living so far away from him, our relationship was built on phone calls, so even though he wasn’t actually here, he was as close as a phone call. Now if I want to share something with him, I have to remind myself that he’s in a place without cell service.
Dad loved to eat at diners, so my brothers in the US took time off and went to a diner. I was so glad that they called me so I could join them virtually. It was good for us to share memories and tell funny stories about Dad.
Now we begin the year of seconds without Dad. But no matter how many years pass, we have our memories, we remember, and usually we laugh. May his memory always be a blessing to us.
Those were the days!
David J. Brown z”l
Aug. 15, 1941 – Mar. 1, 2016