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A Bedside Blog 

12/21/2018 02:42:30 PM

Dec21

Rabbi Steven Suson

As I type this message on my iPhone (sorry for typos), I sit at the bedside of my father-in-law in NJ, whose health is declining. The time I have spent in the hospital with him for the past two days have been some of the best moments we have ever shared. We discussed serious matters of life and death. We faced fears together. We have cried together but also laughed and joked. We talked about how his wife will be taken care of and how Mara and I will be okay. Even in his weakened state he has been able to convey his wishes, love, and blessings. 

Ironically, this week’s Torah reading tells of Joseph and his children sharing a similar moment with their father, Jacob, as they visit him at his bedside. Jacob blesses his grandchildren in interesting in dramatic fashion and, ultimately, each becomes patriarch to an entire tribe of Israel. 

This imagery is recreated every Shabbat as parents place their hands on the heads of their children and bless them to be like Ephraim, Menashe, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. 

I am grateful that the Almighty has given me this time with my loved one. It reminds me that we have an opportunity, every Shabbat and every day to share meaningful time with those we love, to have serious and light conversation, to share blessings and to serve as blessings to one another. 

Please take the opportunity this Shabbat offers us to share and receive blessings with those you love. We pray that God, Who sustains us, protect and strengthen our children and grandchildren so they may increase greatly in number and in commitment to one another and to all of creation.

May God grant mercy and peace to Yehuda Hakohen ben Rachel, along with all who suffer. May we always be a source of support for one another. Amen. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Suson

Thu, November 14 2019 16 Cheshvan 5780