Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Vayeishev - Forever Young

This blog is in honor of the good health of our Dearest Mother/Bubby/Great-Grandmother who is always "upbeat" and just got a pacemaker. May she live and be well until 120.
In last week's parsha we met Yosef, little Joseph, who stood up before his mother Rachel to shield her from the eyes of his uncle Esav. This week in Parshat Vayeishev, we meet him once again.
This time we are told that he was 17 years old, "but he was a youth".
The Artscroll Torah Treasury tells us that Reb Aharon (II) of Karlin "suggests that youth is a state of mind, not a chronological period." In fact, the Treasury explains that while King David says in Psalms 37:25, "I have been a youth and also aged," he means that he remained youthful in spirit.
The Treasury adds that the Jewish people are compared to the moon because the moon has found the secret of the "fountain of youth" as it renews itself every month.
It continues with a story about Rabbi Yisrael Shimon Kostelanitz, who when in his mid-80s traveled from Jerusalem to New York for his granddaughter's wedding. "On the same place was Rabbi Yitzchak Hutner, who asked him how he found the strength to make such an arduous journey at his age." The Rav explained in a fascinating way. He quoted the portion of the Akeida when Avraham took with him "his two youths." The Hebrew words are "Shnei Ne'arav". Rav Kostelanitz said that Chassidim translate this, not as his two youths, but as "his younger years." Avraham took with him his younger years.
B"H every Pesach and usually on Chanukah, if not even more often, my Dearest Mother/my children's Bubby/my grandchildren's great-grandmother takes the plane from New York to Jerusalem. The trip is very strenuous. Truthfully, very often, she doesn't feel well for a few days after the trip. Unfortunately sometimes she doesn't feel well on the flight itself, but B"H bli ayin hara, Bubby has done everything she could to come for the holidays and BE"H never to miss a simcha. And we always pray that Hashem should bless her, watch over her and help her feel well enough to make the trip.
People ask, "Bli ayin hara, how does your mother made this difficult trip twice a year?" And now I understand the answer. As a member of the Matmid Club and the King David Club or whatever the names of her special traveler clubs are, Bubby is entitled to bring extra things to Israel. And what does she bring in addition to her suitcases? She brings her "shnai na'arav", her young years.
May Hashem bless Bubby in every way, and keep her young and well, until 120.

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