Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Yud Gimmel Kislev - Summing Up A Life In Four Words

The 1927 Washington and Lee University yearbook contained this description of my grandfather upon his graduation:

"Once only, does there wander into each man's life a person possessed of virtue, embodying a spirit of gentleness, faithfulness, and yet the highest degree of joviality. Four years ago, we are proud to say, we were honored with just such an acquaintance.

Character of the highest caliber was not the only asset; behind his smiling countenance there lurks an ever-present vigilant sense of judgment developed to such a degree as to enable a coping with life's most delicate and intricate problems. With a disposition ever so calm, "Doc" is known to all of us as a regular fellow with great capabilities and rare qualities of friendship. We are sure he will be held in high esteem by his associates of the future as he is by us, his associates of the past."

At a very young age people referred to my grandfather him as "Doc" since he always expressed a desire to be a doctor. After graduating from college, my grandfather attended medical school at Temple University and officially became a doctor in 1934. In July 1942, my grandfather enlisted in the army after he learned about the Nazi's persecution of Europe's Jews. Although he expressed a desire to sent over to fight the Germans, he spent World War II stationed in army hospitals in New York, Florida, and Indiana.

During the last year of his life, my grandfather was bedridden with emphysema and Alzheimer's Disease. While he could not remember what happened five minutes before, he could recite medical text books from memory. Even during his final days when he was dependent on the care of my grandmother, he would ask everyone who came to visit him, "Do you need anything?"

"Do you need anything?" - these four words sum up my grandfather's entire life; a life devoted to caring for other people.

Today, on the day of his yahrzeit, may his neshoma be a meylitz yosher for us all.

Yitzchak ben Nochum z"l (1905 - 1989)

13 Comments:

At December 14, 2005 at 7:43:00 AM EST, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Amen. Your grandfather sounds like a man of tremendous kindness and integrity - good qualities for a doctor, too. He must have been very proud of how his grandson turned out. How much of him do you see in yourself and your children?

 
At December 14, 2005 at 8:26:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

It is a hard question to answer since in many ways I never really knew my grandfather since he passed away when I was a teenager. I wish I could have sat down and talked with him now at my age.

I guess I will have to settle for this:

http://asimplejew.blogspot.com/2005/05/reunited-in-dream.html

 
At December 14, 2005 at 8:35:00 AM EST, Blogger MC Aryeh said...

ASJ, that in a dream post is a beauty. I think I need to spend some serious time with your archives. I feel like I have missed out on so much by only finding your site a few months ago!

 
At December 14, 2005 at 9:48:00 AM EST, Blogger Shoshana said...

What a beautiful tribute - many lives must have been enhanced by knowing your grandfather.

 
At December 14, 2005 at 9:51:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

MCAryeh and Shoshana: Thank you! :)

 
At December 14, 2005 at 1:25:00 PM EST, Blogger Tamara said...

May his memory be a blessing forever.

 
At December 14, 2005 at 1:42:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Tamara: Thank you for your kind words.

 
At December 15, 2005 at 2:46:00 AM EST, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

That was very nice.

 
At December 15, 2005 at 6:29:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

I appreciate your comment, Jack. Thank you.

 
At December 15, 2005 at 11:50:00 AM EST, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

Amen to your post.
Wow, what a special person!
I guess that leaves you with big shoes to fill, my friend.

 
At December 15, 2005 at 12:07:00 PM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

My father seems to have filled them already since he too followed in his father's footsteps and became a doctor.

 
At December 15, 2005 at 11:10:00 PM EST, Anonymous chabakuk elisha said...

Interesting! My grandfather (who lived basically during the same years) also became a doctor (as did his 2 brothers -- all of them at Harvard). My father didn't carry on the medical tradition though; he became a writer, illustrator, lecturer...

 
At December 16, 2005 at 6:32:00 AM EST, Blogger A Simple Jew said...

Given all our similarities, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that we were related! ;)

 

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