3/10/2009

Another Memorable Reading (That I Forgot About)

I forgot about one particularly memorable Megillah reading: my first one. I probably forgot about it because, for me, it was about getting through it and feeling a sense of relief. I was also a self-absorbed teenager at the time, and perhaps I did not notice how meaningful it was for others. Fortunately, my parents reminded me of that today.

That first reading was in 1992. I layned the Megillah at the Shomrei Emunah youth minyan in Baltimore. It was mostly people about my age, including many of my friends, but there were 2 people there who were much, much older: my grandfathers.

My paternal grandfather probably would have been critical of my reading had his hearing been intact. I know now that he always had a bit of trouble taking pride in his MO grandkids, but that's neither here nor there. He came, and he probably shepped some nachas. He passed away about 2 years later, on Chol Ha-Mo'ed Pesach.

For my maternal grandfather, it was a very different story. His hearing was fully intact, though the rest of his body, by that point, was wracked with cancer. Learning to layn the Megillah was a lifelong goal of his that he never fulfilled. He came to shul that night with an oxygen tank in tow and left with tears in his eyes, knowing full well that it was probably his last Purim, satisfied that he lived long enough to bear witness that one of his own lifelong dreams was being fulfilled by his posterity. He passed away less than 3 months later, on Erev Shavu'ot. Much of his last time on earth was spent tying off the loose ends of his life (it was quite fitting that he completed the counting of the Omer, with a bracha, the night before he passed away). Based on his remarks, that Purim was another of those loose ends, another item on his "Bucket List", that he was able to fulfill before departing. Memorable, indeed.
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