April 17th, 2008


pre-Pesach remembrance

How convenient! The rabbi at my synagogue had a siyyum this morning! That makes 4 years in a row, at least, that someone has had one at my synagogue on just this particular day before Passover! How incredibly coincidental!

Immediately before the siyyum, there was the usual daily morning service. I don't normally go to daily services, but I went because of the siyyum. Since I don't normally go, I also don't normally have occasion to wear tefillin (which I have never even owned), so I hadn't put on a pair in years. Well, today I did, probably for the first time in 14 years, since the week of my bar mitzvah.

The pair I put on was the pair loaned to me indefinitely by Max Lebow at this exact service two years ago, about 8 months before he passed away. His instructions were that I should give the tefillin to his kids should either of them ever ask for them back, which I would still quite happily do; but that absent that, they were mine to keep. I still consider this one of the most generous acts I've ever experienced, tainted not a bit by the fact that it came from a dying man trying to make peace with the world and put his possessions to good use. Max was a great man, directly and indirectly influencing my life enormously, because he was the father of two of the closest friends I've ever had, but also in other ways. Most of his family and friends probably remember him more around his birthday (which I don't know) or his yahrtzeit (which I only approximately know), but right before Pesach is when I tend to think about him the most. May his memory be for a blessing.