April 16, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
April 16, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Editor’s note: This eulogy was given at the levaya of the author’s father, Shelly Mermelstein, z”l, who passed away this past Shabbat from injuries sustained after he and fellow Teaneck resident, Micah Kaufman, were hit by a car last Thursday night outside of Cong. Bnai Yeshurun in Teaneck. Please continue to daven for a refuah for Micah (Micha Chaim Ben Sarah) who remains in critical condition.

When I asked my kids last night to describe Zeidy in one word, without hesitating they all said “shul” or “davening.” My father’s entire day, each and every day, was focused around Shacharis, Mincha and Maariv. So much so that one night a few years ago my father was telling me that he was davening Mincha and in the middle he realized that he had already davened earlier in the day! It was constantly on his mind. He would leave for shul way before the minyan was starting and when we asked why he was leaving so early, he would say, “There might be traffic crossing the street!” If he was ever sick, or even the few times he was in the hospital and unable to go to shul, it truly pained him! I can say that, baruch Hashem, all of his grandsons have followed in his footsteps in that regard, which always made him very proud! He especially loved going to shul and davening with them! How ironic that the last mitzvah he was able to perform was davening Maariv in shul.

He was at that minyan in Bnai Yeshurun last week because he had a chavrusa from 7-9 and wanted to be sure that he had already davened Maariv [beforehand]. After my father “retired,” which he really never completely did, he was able to focus more on his learning, setting up various chavrusas during the week and on Shabbos mornings. He was always looking to learn and grow and constantly work on himself to become a better person.

My father was one of the most kind, caring and selfless people I have ever met. He would do anything for anyone even if it completely inconvenienced him, and he rarely let others do for him. How many times did my father wake up super early to go to a very early minyan so he could drive a friend to the airport? I would say to him, “Dad, you’re so tired, can’t they take a cab or Uber?” But he would never allow that, no matter how tired he was. He took care of so many things for so many people without looking for appreciation. I’m sure there are so many things he’s done that we don’t even know about. Just yesterday, Ayelet noticed that her watch battery died and she said, “I guess I just won’t know the time ever again,” because my father always took care of that for her and everyone else in the family. He was always concerned with others’ needs; when we would sit down to a meal together, he was always the last one to sit because he was busy making sure everyone had the drinks they wanted and that my mother had enough ice! Only once everyone had what they needed would he sit down to his now cold soup, but would never complain about it.

My father was very involved in the chevra kadisha. After each tahara, I would tell him how amazing it is that he’s so involved in that mitzvah, and I feel badly but I don’t think I would be able to handle it. His answer was always the same: “But it’s a mitzvah!” He would never impose it on me, but to him it was so clear, and he was a super-sensitive person who would normally not be able to handle such a situation, but if it’s a mitzvah, it’s just something you do even if it makes you uncomfortable.

My parents’ home, although not large, was always open to everyone and anyone over the years. Somehow, there was always room for whoever needed. They hosted many aufrufs and bar mitzvahs in their home for people in the shul. Just yesterday, they were supposed to host an aufruf. And it was always a joint effort for my parents, no job was too big or small for my father; he cut the fruit, washed the floor and, of course, washed the dishes after! My father always said he loved washing dishes. I think he really just wanted to keep his hands warm. He and I always fought over washing the dishes in my house. He just wanted to be helpful! That was my father: always looking to see what he could do for another individual.

My father loved spending time with his children and grandchildren. Right after Sukkos, the last Shabbos that they were going to be in Israel, they had a “grandchildren shabbaton” with their six grandchildren who are all learning there this year. He and my mother were the best babysitters and always available no matter where they had to travel to. Just recently they went to Washington Heights one night to babysit for their first great-granddaughter, and he was so looking forward to doing that many more times.

My parents were truly a team. Whatever they did was done together, even my father waiting for hours on a Sunday morning to eat breakfast together with my mom. Whenever he had to make a decision, big or small, it was never without first consulting with my mom.

Mommy, I know you’re wondering who’s going to set your Shabbos clocks and wash your dishes and do the hundreds of other things that Daddy did for you…but we all know that Hashem will continue to give you the strength to carry on all the wonderful chasadim that you have done together with Daddy. And knowing Daddy and the emunah that he always had, and that he always truly believed that everything is good and from Hashem, that bitachon should carry all of us through this difficult time.

My father would definitely not want me, or anyone else for that matter, to stand up here and talk about what an amazing person he was. Whenever my parents made a simcha and it was inevitable that the rabbi would speak about my parents, my father always made sure to give them, as he called it, “the gag order” ahead of time. He would really always rather to remain anonymous. That being said, I just wanted to share a little glimpse of the kind of person my father was. Whoever is here today and knew my father even a little, I don’t think I told you anything you didn’t already know.

To view Faygie’s hesped and the full levaya, go to https://bit.ly/2MrCHhP.

By Faygie Meisels

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles