by Rebbitzen Rachel Wheeler at Mystical Paths
To be a Mentch -
For the 1st candle of Chanuukah - (For the memory of my father)
When my father (z”l) passed away 23 years ago and I felt that the world would not be the same anymore, a relative condolences me and said: “One of last nobles has just passed away”. I cried and quietly agreed.
My father (z”l) was born in Vilna (at the 1st World War) on the 1st candle of Chanuka, he was named Meir. (To shine light upon)
The Kabbalah says that when a baby is born, the parents receive a spiritual aide from heaven to know what is the right name for him/her, what is his/her Shlichus (mission) and Tikun in this world.
My father z”l lived out his mission, without too many sophisticated words, and at times with no words at all. With humbleness, modesty, peace, and with a great compassion towards others.
He was expert in listening. He had such a generous listening that when speaking with him, miraculously my thoughts would become clear, and I would get inner answers to my questions.
When he spoke he had encouraging, empowering words. He did not need positive thinking or empowerment workshops. He did not need coaching or Psychology courses in order to learn how to do it - he was “it”. Empowerment was his essence, his being.
In troubled times, my father used to call me on the phone and leave a message on my answering machine saying: ”Lift up your head, please remember you are not alone. kisses, Abba”. With such a warm, quiet, loving, full with faith (in me, in that everything will turn out ) voice. So much warmth was transmitted from the phone, so much was expressed in very few words. Soon after – everything looked different. Everything was different, for me.
He did not just say words: not hi and not bye….he did not use sophisticated words, he meant each word that came out of his mouth. He was a role model for the Mitzvot of “loving your fellow man”, without any selfish motives, without pride, without preaching, without patronizing and putting the other down. He was simple and authentic in his whole essence - to put light out there. He was a peace pursuer (like Aharon Hakohen), and so many times he was out there putting peace in impossible situations as the only light in the darkness; as the first candle on which he was born and he Baruch Hashem was shining light. In the essence of “a little bit of light expels a lot of darkness”.
This year I decided to write about Abba. To shine more light out there with his memory.
Abba brought out a quality that is mentioned a lot, but very few really understand its meaning. Abba WAS a mentch, a true mentch.
When does someone becomes a mentch?
Once I thought that after 50 everybody automatically becomes a mentch. When I passed 45 I understood that there are those who might never be a mentch in their lifetime.
Once I thought that a man after becoming a father, after understanding that “There are many devices in a man's heart; but the counsel of G-d, that shall stand” (proverbs,19,21); after being kicked and smashed by life challenges – then maybe he will be become a mentch. And then I saw those that became a father (time after time Baruch Hashem) and even became grandfathers, but still have not become a mentch.
And then I started to notice that there are men around even young ones that have it, and then I started to notice those that did not have it and they developed it. Developed? May be it just happened to them?
How do you teach somebody to become a mentch? Who really knows what it means? Who in our times wants to be a mentch? Everybody wants to make their next billion, to be famous , to buy more real estate, to conquer the world, to be charismatic, to reach the peaks, to be “more” (this attitude is not only for the unobservant as the Rebbe Maharash is saying that Yetzer Hara is sometime comes in disguise of a Tzadik).
Many may ask, what is the relevance of being a mentch in our times? Will it get a high rating?
No, it is not the trend (yet). The western society is more interested in how to break the code of the world and to magnetize more money and more success.
But I’m sure that in the upper worlds being a mentch gets a five star rating. I am sure it rips the heavens wide open, it reaches heights like the sound of the Shofar. It passes all the heavenly screens!!!!!!
Here down on earth I saw a mentch. In his quiet mode, with his loving and warm look, with compassion, forgiveness, a true understanding of the difficulty the other is confronting (even if the other is hurting) with no grudge. With authentic passion to help the other, with full generous listening, with humbleness, with true integrity and endless patience. With inner limitless warmth, with the depth of a soul touching another soul, and with endless devotion and dedication….
In these times when we have become so loud, vulgar, rational, achievement oriented, and outspoken I miss his tall ,handsome figure, the deep look, the broad shoulders, the humbleness, the eternal inner wisdom, the endless love, I miss this giant Neshama and purified soul.
What an amazing quality…….. where is it? did it disappear?
I do believe it didn’t disappear, in spite of the impression that it is diminishing like an endangered species…….
In the Zchut of my father my wish is that we will all learn to identify and cherish these qualities of being a mentch. That we will learn to dig down to the depth of our being, from all the places we were hiding it so well - to bring this light out with humbleness into our life.
To the Aliya of the soul of my father Meir Ben Abrahahm Itzhak z”l
Happy and Lichtich Hanukkah
Copyright © 2014 Rachel Wheeler