January 2015

Turning right to Lighthouse Street, I found the perfect parking spot. As I opened the door, I breathed in the fresh sea salt air. I took several deep breaths so that the ocean air could live in my lungs. Images of the beach front cottages and homes from my girlhood days swirled in my head. Smiling, I strolled toward the beach.

Walking on the soft, deep sand, I approached the Pacific Ocean. Overcast and a bit chilly, there were very few beach-goers today…I had the expanse to myself. White and blue-green waves crashed gently against the beach. At times, the water’s speed and intensity picked up and the waves roared. Yet instead of scaring me, those sounds comforted me.

pier and waves



Someone skippered my favorite type of sailboat – complete with a jib and mainsail. The skipper skillfully guided the boat so it glided easily north and then west, out into the ocean.


Another boat crossed the horizon close to the beach. It seemed to carry several people. Perhaps the travelers headed out for a fishing excursion. This reminded me of Dad – he took us out on the Long Island Sound during summers in Branford, CT.

The smooth sand, crisp ocean air, and serenity of the sea calmed me. I stood watching the waves, listening to the sounds. The beach drew me down, directly on the sand – the softest seat I could have had. I sang my favorite psalm (121) to Hashem (G-d).

Esah ainei el hei’harim mei’ayin yavo ezree. (I raise my eyes upon the mountains, from where my help will come.)

Ezree mei’im Hashem, oseh shomayim va’aretz. (My help is from Hashem, Maker of heaven and earth.)

Hashem, please comfort me.


Hashem, please guide my Dad, Yoel Meir ben Simcha, on his special journey.


The title is prettier and softer in Hebrew – ain meeleem (no words). I don’t have accurate words to describe the feelings since my father’s passing. Somehow “sad” and “pained” sound hollow. “Tragic” doesn’t describe the circumstances under which he passed. Yes, I’m “unhappy” – to put it mildly. “Unhappy” also sounds hollow.

“Heart-breaking” is close. I hurt.

I miss him. I can’t call him Thursday night to wish him “Good Shabbos”. I can’t share the development of my presentation for an upcoming conference. He won’t be at the upcoming family events and enjoy his family.

I need to learn to communicate another way, and hopefully bring merit to his neshama (soul).

Really – ain meeleem – there are no words.

* *

May these words be a merit for my father, Yoel Meir ben Simcha.

  • Be reliable, stable, and trustworthy.
  • Love your family.
  • Identify the problem and focus on the solution.
  • Continue to grow emotionally and spiritually throughout your life.
  • Be a good friend; be the friend someone can count on.
  • Welcome your children’s friends into the family.
  • Do the right thing.
  • Work hard … it precedes the fun…and then play hard!
  • Face unpleasant tasks head on…you’ll get the reward.
  • Be the flame on a candle — continue to give to others without diminishing yourself.

As my siblings phrased it—we are “painfully aware of everything in life that makes our times together too short and draws our focus on things that take away from the joy of the good times we did get to have and how bittersweet it is that we don’t get to have more.”

* *

May these words be a merit for my father, Yoel Meir ben Simcha.

Every Thursday night, I would call Dad and wish him Good Shabbos. In the last several weeks, any time I walked into his room, he’d wish me “Good Shabbos”, ask me if it was Shabbos, or ask me “When is Shabbos coming?” I thought it was simply his associating me with Shabbos.

I think it was more than that. I suspect Dad knew that Shabbos would be his time.

Last Thursday night (January 15) was no different—I wished Dad “Good Shabbos” as we sat by his bedside. Friday morning, I sang one of the Shabbos zemiros (songs) to him.

Shabbos is a day of tranquility and rest. We put the affairs of the world away on Shabbos. Dad’s business affairs were certainly in order. During those 2+ days and nights we spent with him, we helped put our sibling relationship in order; it was a unifying and healing experience. When Shabbos came, it brought with it a level of serenity. Our father, Yoel Meir ben Simcha, left this world on that day of tranquility and serenity, Shabbos kodesh, the holy Shabbos, 26 Teves 5775.

Yoel Meir ben Simcha, may Hashem’s malachim (spiritual beings) guide you safely and quickly to the Olam Ha’Emes (True World).

Dad, when you get before Hashem please be a meilitz yosher for us — ask that He look with favor upon your family and all of klal Yisroel (community of Israel). Tzeitzchem le’Shalom–go in peace.