Defiance of death was not what I planned writing about tonight but an hour ago I got a message from Jerusalem: My father’s older brother, Uncle Shiko, died peacefully today, in his early nineties, surrounded by his wife, and many children, grand and great children. Baruch Dayan Emet.
Like my father, Shiko survived the Holocaust – he left early and made it to Palestine. Unlike my father, who though religious has many doubts about God – Shiko lived a life full of faith, little doubt in God, a true Hasid, with commitment to the Zionist ideal – he was a big fan and a leader of the settler movement. We didn’t see eye to eye on that one, but in the big scheme of things it didn’t matter. He also liked to drink, esp. Slivovitz, the plum brandy of champions.
So tonight, night #7, my intention is to honor his death and to honor all deaths of loved ones in my life and on the planet this past year. I’ll raise a glass of Slivovitz in his memory as the candles are lit. Occupy death by lighting a candle – yahrtzeit or chaunkah. Occupy death by living strongly, not afraid of mortality, honoring life, celebrating our now, sending light and love to my father, who will now sit shiva for a brother, as he had not sat for the brother who died in 1942 or for his parents who died in those dark years.
In the photo attached – the last picture of my uncle Shiko, along with my father – Shiko, fragile in on the left. How how giants are humbled.. May his memory be a blessing to all.
L’chayim. To life.