In Memory of RivkA bat Yishaya

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Like so many people I have been devastated by the news of RivkA’s death. I read her blog regularly and was always inspired by the energy and optimism she conveyed. Her numerous friends in Israel have written beautifully about her and I fear I could never express my feelings and gratitude in such an articulate manner.

Instead I prefer to share what I found on Aish. We obviously feel besieged by numerous questions when someone as exceptional as RivkA passes away. Even if we find it hard to act rather than question, Judaism acknowledges our pain and bewilderment and encourages us to live life more fully in the merit of the deceased. The suggestions below concern a parent but apply to any one who has departed this world.

Our Sages have provided us with specific ways that we can help our loved ones gain merit in our daily lives. We can dedicate our actions for the soul through the following suggestions:

• Study Torah or ask a Torah scholar to dedicate his study to your parent’s soul (during the week of shivah, others study Torah since mourners are not allowed to study Torah).

• Tzedakah: Give charity or donate a Torah scroll, prayer books, or holy books in the name of your loved one to an organization, synagogue, or school. It is a good idea to have the name of your parent (or relative) inscribed inside the book.

• Acts of Kindness: Whenever you do a chessed, a kind deed, keep in mind that you are doing this mitzvah as a merit for the soul of your parent. This creates a great impact, for just as you have accomplished kindness, the soul of the departed will now benefit from God’s kindness in turn.

• Prayer: There is, of course, the holy Kaddish prayer that is said, during the first year (12 months) of mourning and on the yahrzeit. Kaddish proclaims our desire that the name of God be sanctified. When one suffers a loss and is then able to recite the Kaddish, he is publicly accepting God’s decree.This is considered to be one of the most awesome mitzvot — Kiddush Hashem, the sanctification of God’s name. The merit for the soul is real and great.

• Embrace a Mitzvah: Choose a mitzvah and ‘put your signature on it’. It can be a mitzvah that your parent loved doing, or one that you would now like to take on. There are hundreds of mitzvoth to consider; such as helping children with special needs, visiting the sick, driving patients to doctor appointments, offering your professional services to those who cannot afford them, cooking and baking for families under stress,
Saying blessings before and after you eat, keeping kosher, honoring Shabbat, praying each day, and avoiding gossip and shaming others.

• Light a yahrzeit (memorial) candle in honor of your parent’s soul. Four times a year one lights a memorial candle, besides on the yahrzeit (date of passing) date itself. The holidays of Yom Kippur, Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, allow us the opportunity of Yizkor, remembrance. We light the candle at sundown and the flames burn for (more than) 24 hours. The flame of the candle symbolizes the human soul which is never extinguished. While lighting the candle, think about your loved one and say that “I am lighting this flame in the merit that my loved one’s soul find peace and attain greater heights in the heavens above.”
The date of the yahrzeit also gives us added opportunities to help the soul soar higher in heaven because yahrzeit is a day of judgment for the soul. It is a custom to gather together and have a meal, a seudah, where we speak about the fine character of our loved one. We tell personal stories that relay
his goodness, kindness, and integrity. Visiting the grave, giving charity, and studying Torah are all additional ways for us to add to our ‘care package to heaven’.

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Weekly Review At Last

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On My Blog

Photo Meme:
Stained Glass for Ruby Tuesday

Lübeck’s Synagogue

Lost Contacts

Weekly Recipe: Quick, Easy and Cheap Tuna Curry

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

My favorite foodies, part IV: Ilana-Davita, Shimshonit interviews yours truly

Interview with Shimshonit on Writing, Leora interviews Shimshonit

Our Penchant For Defining Ourselves By Excluding Others, a post by Rabbi Fink

Walking Around Jaffa Port, Mimi visits Jaffa

First Times Are Hard, first post of a new blog

RivkA of Coffee and Chemo passed away this morning. May RivkA’s family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Shabbat Shalom!

Quick, Easy and Cheap Tuna Curry

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I had this curry at my cousin’s house yesterday and found it much nicer than I had anticipated. When making this simple dish, just tally the quantities to the number of people who will be eating it.

Sautee one onion or 2 shallots until they are translucent. Add some sliced fresh tomatoes and stir now and again until they are a bit mushy. Add curry powder or paste, according to your taste and what you have in your pantry. Add drained canned tuna and a dollop of dairy or parve cream and leave to cook for about 10 minutes so that the fish and tomatoes absorb the flavors.

Serve with rice and/or steamed vegetables.

Lost Contacts

Dear faithful readers,

Having updated my version of Microsoft Office I have just realized that all my blog contacts have disappeared and cannot be retrieved (believe me I have tried).

If the only way we have ever been in contact is via my ilanadavita email address, I have definitely lost you. Could please send me an email – no text needed – so I can add you to my address book again? Thanks in advance.

Stained Glass

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This post is afollow-up of yesterday’s when I showed some photos of Lübeck’s synagogue, outside and inside. The stained glass in the first shot is the inside of the dome you can see in the second one. I believe it is dark around because of the light that was flowing from above.

On Tuesdays, just post any photo you like (it must be one of your own) that contains the color RED and then link to this blog.

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This lovely badge was created by Leora from Here in HP.

Lübeck’s Synagogue

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During last summer’s vacation in Hamburg we drove to Lübeck on a rainy Wednesday and were lucky to find that the synagogue was open.

Built in 1879 in the middle of the Hanseatic city, it is still in use although it was damaged in November 1938. The Lübeck Jewish community today numbers around 700 persons, most of whom are immigrants from the former Soviet Union. as you can see in the first photo.

JBlogosphere Weekly Review

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I have blogged so little in the past two weeks that all links below come from other blogs, except one.

October Jewish Book Carnival, thanks to Naomi Firestone-Teeter for posting it and including my own review. Feel free to please the Jewish Book Carnival GoodReads page to participate in conversations all month long.

Leora interviews famous blogger Lorri from Jew Wishes

My favorite foodies, part III: Batya, an interview by Shimshonit

Freshly Baked Goods Friday: Cinnamon Marble Cake Edition, Mrs.S. provides a recipe

Discussing two of the big three no-nos, an excellent post by Treppenwitz

Please pray for RivkA bat Teirtzel of Coffee and Chemo

Shabbat Shalom!