November 24, 2021, Hadassah Mount Scopus, Hospice, Jerusalem, Israel
וַיִּישָׁן וַיַּחֲלֹם שֵׁנִית
"and he slept, and dreamed a second dream". (Bereshith, Genesis, Chapter 41, Verse 5)
The day my mother died.
Day after day I sat by her side, and each day part of her left us. Each day the nurses reported a "marked decline". By Monday I was told the kidneys were no longer functioning in a meaningful way. On Tuesday she could only utter one sentence. Early Wednesday morning I received the call to come "as quickly as possible and notify your brothers", that was "the call" I was hoping would never come.
The day my mother passed on from this life I sat and read the reading of the Torah for the following week, i.e. not the coming Sabbath but the one that follows, planning ahead. It is called "Miketz" which means at the end. And it begins "At the end of two full years Pharaoh dreamt that he was standing by the River Nile." (Genesis, 41, 1)
At the end of nearly two years of battling cancer, congestive heart failure, kidney problems, I sat by my mother's side. And I chanted. And again, suddenly, a feeling came to me. I had already understood that I must release her (as I wrote in my blog "Release Me") but now something else appeared to me. Again and again, "YaYeeshan ya yahalom sheinith" and he slept and he dreamt again.
and I felt it, sleep, it is OK to sleep, take a break after a long struggle, you need to sleep for it has been too much, you will sleep a deep sleep and then, you will dream once again.
I felt as if my mother was sending me a message, although she could no longer communicate clearly. Sleep my son, take a good rest, but you will wake up from this, you will dream again. There will be life for you. You must live, I want you to live.
And of course I know this, this is what I have been telling others for so long. As long as the breath of life is within us it is a sign that God has not given up hope on us, it is a sign that we still have work to do in this lifetime. As long as the candle still burns there is still time to fix and mend. But sometimes it is difficult.
I recall my grandfather's story; D-day, World War Two, Utah beach. Hell on earth, many young men lost their lives. and a young Jewish soldier dug into the sand, clawing his way to safety. He fell into a deep sleep and woke up the next morning to a strange sound and strange sight. He heard a beautiful voice chanting the Psalms of the Hebrew Bible. He looked up and saw a rabbi walking up and down the beach with his prayer shawl and prayer book, praying. That was my grandfather, Rabbi Isaac Klein of blessed memory. The man looked up and asked if he had died and gone to heaven. My grandfather smiled at him and said, "No son, you are very much alive, and you had better get up because there is a quite a lot of fighting ahead."
And I think, ...and he slept and he dreamt again. Yes, we go into a deep sleep, but then we will wake up from this struggle, and we shall yet dream again.
Pharaoh was confused, but then he slept and he dreamt again, and he had greater clarity. Sometimes we need to walk away from the issue, walk away, sleep a deep sleep, and then we can dream again.
I sat by her side and I chanted and the rhythm and vibrations awakened my soul....and he slept, and he dreamt again. We must dream new dreams, must face new challenges, we must stand up and face the new day.