For me, fall is always a special time. Not only does September indicate a new school year but the Jewish New Year often coincides with this time, clearly opening the door to new beginnings and possibilities. Reflecting on this, I can’t help but think about how the excitement that I feel about such predictable events is, in actuality, about the unforeseen and unimagined.
As I reflect on this, I think about my grandfather and how he left us not only material goods but an ethical will as well. In it, he encouraged us to seek out knowledge, explore spirituality, treasure family, be ethical, and to think for ourselves. And, most importantly, he encouraged us to always hope for a better life: to make every personal effort to improve ourselves and others through love and diligence in order to make the world somewhat better for our having been here.
Standing on my back patio, drinking in the cool night’s air, my mind and eye drift to the mezzuzah that hangs upon the door to my house. Wondering to myself why this particular relic of Judaica is so important to me, I came to the following conclusion:
The mezuzah rests silently
Waiting to usher the goddess of love through her doors
Enveloping her home
And hearts that lie within
With a warm embrace
Allowing shuttered defenses
To open wide
Making the soul visible as fears fly apart
Ultimately, I decide, the mezuzah is a physical representation of all of the lessons that my grandfather gave me, both during his lifetime and after, a collection of wisdom that if adhered to can lead to a life well lived.
As I share these ideas with my son in a slow progression over the years, it’s my hope that he will absorb their messages into the very fiber of his being and use them as a guideline when crafting his life so that even when he falters, he’ll have an innate compass by which he can redirect himself onto a path that is at once expansive and fulfilling, building a solid path to my grandfather’s dream that the world become a better place.