L’ILuy Nishmas Yaakov Eisenberg
A year or so ago, I drove into Manhattan to pick up my mother’s second cousin from Israel, Motty, and drive him to the airport. I had felt guilty after barely seeing him during his short trip. Even though he is only my mother’s second cousin, he treated me like his own son when I visited with him in Israel some 15 years ago (going out of his way to get kosher food, etc.). So, the least I could do was drive him to the airport.
Earlier that morning I had gone to a gemorah shiur I had been attending at the time and I must have left directly from there since my gemorah was on the back seat of the car. When Motty opened the back door, he asked “David, do you learn Tal-mud Bav-Li?” I responded “I try.” “Oh”, he said “I have something for you”. He explained that an uncle of his, the only living religious member of his family, had recently passed away. Amongst his belongings were many sifrei kodesh. The attorney administering the estate gave them to Motty and told him he should probably throw them away. Motty then said to me “I am not dati (religious) but I know what his kodesh (holy). Also, I come from a family of publishers so all books are important to me. I will send these books to you.” I thanked him as graciously as possible.
Approximately one month later, three large boxes were delivered to my home. They included an entire set of Shas (the Talmud), a set of Mishnah Yachin and Boaz (the six orders of the the Mishnah with commentary) and two sets of Mishneh Brurah (the Chofetz Chaim’s authoritative work on Jewish Law). I carefully placed the Shas and Mishnayos on my bookshelf and sent my brother one of the sets of Mishneh Brurah and donated the other to a Jewish outreach library.
This year, my son has begun learning Mishnayos in school. When we learn together, I try to use this particular set of mishnayos in the hopes that it will be of merit to this distant, distant relative that I never met.
Our sages teach that “Torah mechazeres al achsanya shelah”–The Torah returns to its lodgings–which has been explained to mean that even if the Torah leaves a family, it will return within three generations.
Welcome home, I hope you find us to be gracious hosts.