I write this on Tuesday with my wife having just gotten up from sitting shiva for my father-in-law Rabbi Dr. Mordechai Glick. It has been a challenging week on many levels and a completely exhausting and draining one for my wife, her siblings and, most of all, my mother-in-law. Although I wasn’t there for all hours of the shiva, as I did go to work and took care of my two boys still at home, I did spend enough time at the shiva house to see, hear and speak with many people whose lives were directly and deeply impacted by my father-in-law from his years in Montreal as a rabbi, therapist, college professor and community leader.
It was so incredibly powerful to hear directly the many anecdotes, thoughts and
sentiments expressed by those whose lives my father-in-law touched, influenced and guided over the years. Our family also enjoyed sharing around the many emails, texts and even a few videos that we were receiving from those in whose lives my father-in-law played a pivotal role. It was also nice to see the children of couples my father-in-law helped convert.
I had always known that my father-in-law was a special person. He was a truly gifted teacher and rabbi, a unique, committed Jew whose average weekday Shemoneh Esrei was a sight to see. And he was an unusually selfless, devoted and loving father, husband and grandfather whose close relationships with his family members and especially my mother-in-law left this son-in-law and father feeling even a bit inadequate at times.
At the levaya I spoke first, which took me by surprise as I am the youngest son-in-law and had assumed I would be speaking last. Unfortunately, I was so confident that I would be speaking last that I didn’t even bother to ask about the speaking order in advance. That’s a mistake I won’t make again. So I was called up to speak first with only a few ideas prepared, as I thought I would have 45-60 minutes of additional time to remember and prepare a few more things to say (Note to self: Always ask the order of the speeches in advance and never make any assumptions about speaking order based on how late I came into the family.)
I spoke about how much I missed my long Shabbos walks with my father-in-law to and from his shul in Montreal, which is when I really got to know him. It always impressed me that he walked faster than me until his early 60s and I struggled to keep up. We spoke at length about so many topics ranging from the rabbinate, psychology, political science and more. I tried to teach him what I was learning about in poli-sci grad school and yeshiva and he tried to teach me about psychology and counseling. I like to think that he enjoyed these walks as much as I did.
I forgot to mention at the levaya that I always enjoyed when my father-in-law visited The Jewish Link office. He would always smile and wave to me when he came in and would often sit in my office just browsing through some of the many books I keep on the office shelves. But perhaps more importantly, I left out how fiercely proud he was of all of us—his children, sons-in-law, grandchildren—for even the smallest achievements. He told me a number of times over the years about how proud he was of me for our growing family and also for The Jewish Link, to which he contributed regularly in our paper’s early years. I will definitely miss seeing him with my mother-in-law at our office.
I believe I speak for our entire family when I say that we were simply overwhelmed with the amount of love, chesed, goodwill, offers to help, gifts of food and so much more that we were on the receiving end of this past week. We are also so grateful for the many friends, old and new, our neighbors, our rabbanim and the many family members who visited almost unceasingly from morning until late at night. It may have been tiring but I know that our family deeply appreciated each and every visitor.
Our family has set up an email address, [email protected], that will forward to each family member and can be used to send us all memories, stories and remembrances of our father, father-in-law and grandfather. We look forward to hearing from you.
I want to close with a personal message of bracha and condolences to the special Hoffer families (sons Aaron and Ben) of both Teaneck and Springfield upon the passing last week of their father, David Hoffer, a”h, barely nine months after their mother, Emmy Hoffer, left this world at a way-too-young age. Aaron’s wife Jen is our production editor, who has been out all week managing the shiva in Teaneck. Most movingly, Aaron relayed to me a few times prior, and again at the shiva, that his father insisted that we mention his passing and put in a special box for him in his favorite Shabbat reading material, The Jewish Link. I was quite humbled and honored to hear that and almost broke down when Aaron told it to me.
I am proud to say that we have done exactly as David Hoffer asked on page 10 of this week’s paper. Hamakom yenachem bi’toch sha’ar aveilei Tzion v’Yerushalayim to both Hoffer brothers, Aaron and Ben. I look forward to putting your names in The Jewish Link for happier reasons in the future.
By Moshe Kinderlehrer/
Co-Publisher, The Jewish Link