This sunday is Shiva Assar B'Tammuz, which for many, ushers in a period of contemplative mourning - the three weeks leading up to Tisha B'av. For my family and I it signals as well the approach of my father z"l's yahrzeit.
The only yahrzeit mentioned in the Torah is that of Aharon HaCohen on the first of Av. I have always thought it quite appropriate that my father shares this yahrzeit. Aharon HaCohen epitomized the characteristic of a rodeph sholom. My father was a peace loving, modest man. He served Hashem with all his talents and never desired any recognition.
My father was also an artist. He dedicated his creative energies to the service of Hashem. He lovingly produced all manner of publications to enhance the service of Hashem. He fashioned beautiful Mizrach signs. He created for himself a yahrzeit light built with a stone he collected from the rubble of his own shul in Manheim's bimah. He designed and built a triangular seder plate that harkened back to one he remembered from his childhood.
Sadly, many of these treasures have been lost to me this year, as sad fact that I must come to terms with. After the petirah of my father I still had tangible reminders to ease my grief. Now I am faced with a new sense of loss - a further distancing. But still..... I REMEMBER. OTHERS REMEMBER. My father made a difference in the lives of many and in their service of Hashem.
Hachover Raphael Naftoli ben Hachover Yoseph Aharon Halevi
Yehi Zichro Baruch