Before I begin, I first want to share my deep condolences to our incredible leader at The Jewish Experience, Rabbi Leban and his very special mother Mrs. Cheryl Leban, on the loss last week of Rabbi Leban’s brother, Mrs. Leban’s son, Drew. May any inspiration gleaned from this email be a merit to Drew Leban, Yaakov ben Feivel Moshe Halevi, z”l.
I am writing to you from NJ, where I have been taking care of my mother’s husband for a few days while my mom is in Los Angeles visiting my Aunt & Uncle who she has not seen since before the pandemic. Mom’s husband has Parkinson’s Disease and I offered to stay with him so she could go to Los Angeles.
This coming Shabbat we will read two parshas; Acharei-Mot and Kedoshim. As I have been thinking about what to write for today’s email, I was drawn to write something about Kedoshim.
In Kedoshim 19:32 the Torah states:
You shall rise before a venerable person and you shall respect the elderly, and you shall fear your God. I am the Lord.
Yesterday I went to a Yankee’s game with my mom’s husband Larry, my daughter Yael, and my son-in-love David. David works for the Yankee’s which is why we had really great seats! We had a great time, but what really struck me was the honor and respect with which most people gave Larry, who was seated in a wheelchair and was wearing a Vietnam Vet cap (not a Yankee cap even though he is a fan). He is also a retired NYC police officer. As I told the young NYPD officers guarding the stadium that he was a retired cop, they each thanked him for his service. A guy gave up his seat so we could sit down before our wheelchair area seats were ready and held the door for him as we entered the area (he later caught a foul ball – which I thought was a lovely recognition of his gesture!)
While we the Jews are told in this parsha “You shall be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy,” we are given this task to be a role model for the world. Standing up for elders is just one way to demonstrate this holiness.
Have a great week.