Thursday, May 24, 2007

Saturday May 24

5 P.M.

After morning prayers
at the synagogue I spent the
afternoon at home, assembling
the precious letters from my
father Olam Haba.

I shall make a little shrine
and worship in his memory.


Matt's Notes

It must have taken Papa the whole day to go through eleven years worth of letters from his father, opening, reading, refolding, pausing between each for long silent stretches, blinking away tears, walking around the block. He would have handled them carefully, gingerly, as if they could break apart in his shaking hands.

And what would the "little shrine" to his father have looked like? I picture a stack of letters on Papa's mantle or dresser, flanked with a candle or two, and, propped just behind them, the ceramic-mounted, oval photograph of his father and mother now in my possession:

I have a couple of other thoughts when I read this entry. One, totally selfish, is: God, I'd love to have those letters. The other is: What would Papa's shrine to his father have looked like if this story took place today? Would he have scanned the letters, posted them to a Web site, and written a little thought about each one?


Note that Papa once again uses an abbreviation of the Hebrew expression Olam Haba in this entry. As noted before, this literally means "the world to come," and Papa uses it in reference to his father to say "I'll meet him in heaven."