Old Man Receives Torah Honor

Yesterday morning I attended a Bar Mitzvah service. A Torah honor was given to a certain old man in the first row, (at the lectern, his role was to read aloud to the congregation a few paragraphs from the holy scrolls). He was the great grandfather of the Bar Mitzvah boy; my guess… he was at least ninety years old. It required the help of two of his sons just to walk him to the three steps needed to ascend to get to the Torah and accept the honor. The old man struggled, using every bit of energy he could muster to walk up those three steps. But, there was no use in trying. A third man came to help but the furthest the old man could get was to reach the first step.The Rabbi called to the man’s son. “Maybe it’s too much for him. We’ll call someone else.”

TorahThe old mans face turned into a flaming red tomato. “It’s my great grandson’s Bar Mitzvah; I’ve lived to see this day and I will not be denied the honor.” He spoke with a surprisingly strong voice, and with that statement, he pushed away the three men who were helping him. He stood there precariously on the first step. Everyone was sure he would fall. “My cane, my cane!,” he called. “Get me my cane!” When it was delivered to him, he sent away the messenger and then used his cane to regain his balance. He very calmly straightened his tie and his jacket, he picked up his prayer shawl that was around his shoulders and covered himself completely. He set his cane firmly on the second step and with his entire body shaking and quivering, while all the congregants watched with apprehension, he then slowly lifted his foot up to the next step and finally made it and stood before the revered Torah.

As he pushed and grunted and groaned up those steps we heard him cry out, “Dear Lord, wait for me. Have a little patience.” When he finally reached the spot where he had to stand for the reading and fulfill the honor accorded him, a big triumphant smile lit up his face as he looked up at us who were watching him so intently. He looked all around the synagogue and then said simply: “WHEN GOD WANTS, MAN DOES.” He proceeded to read the prayer…

Barhu et Adonai ha-m’vorah — BLESSED BE THE LORD….

Auhor unknown. this article appeared in The Sephardic Home News Vol. 59 No.5 The Sephardic Home – Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

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