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Father’s Day

True story.

My father, Gd bless him, turned 85 last summer. That’s a big, round number so it called for a celebration.  We invited the entire family together, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, for a major, Sunday afternoon picnic.

My brother arranged with a local State park for us to have a secluded corner for the lot of us from dawn till dusk.

Everyone brought something: bats, balls, Frisbees, blankets, lounge chairs, volleyball net (complete with badminton rackets), a wading pool for the kids and sunscreen.

Each family also brought their assigned share of food: soda, fruit, vegetables, salads, condiments, plastic plates, knives and forks, a cooler of ice, desserts and plenty of meat.

Of course the highlight was the barbecue. We even brought our own portable grill (being kosher we couldn’t use the public ones from the park), and loaded it with charcoal briquettes (mesquite for that real BBQ flavor).

And then it happened.

We looked around at our family and realized – no one smokes. There wasn’t a match to be found anywhere. No one in the immediate vicinity had one either so my brother-in-law had to drive three miles to the nearest mini-market to buy a box of wooden matches.

Many of us approach Judaism the same way.

Some of us have all of the outer trappings – beards, hats, prayers, Shabbat, kosher – but we leave out the fire. Others take upon themselves little steps at a time. We light Friday night candles, we pray once a day, we start saying blessings over the food we eat, we might even attend synagogue more than just a few times a year - but we lack that inner spark.

What keeps us going? Why have the Jewish people been doing these things for all of these years?

It’s due to the constant awareness that there is Gd in Heaven Who loves us like a father. He provides for us and sustains us all our lives with all that we individually need for our maximum happiness.

And what wouldn’t you do for your father? And if YOU’RE a father (or a mother) what wouldn’t you do for your children? Our Father in Heaven gave us a Universe chock full of wonderment and wonderful things for us to enjoy. Judaism says that each person is supposed to say to himself, “For ME was this entire world created.”

And while it’s true that life isn’t always a picnic and some people bring more to the party than others, some less, the constant awareness that all that we have and all that happens to us comes from Gd’s love and guidance, should fill us with the fire and desire to give back whatever we can to our Father in Heaven.

Happy (everyday is) Father’s Day.

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by   Max Anteby

Comments icon June 18, 2010


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