| Speechless Moments |

Rabbi Avi Shafran

There was one moment when I could respond only with silence
Rabbi Avi Shafran
Director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America
New York

For better or worse, I’m rarely at a loss for words, as countless conversational victims of mine can attest.

But there was one moment when I could respond only with silence.

It was in 2017, on the first yahrtzeit of my father. He’d been an inspiration to so many in his role as rav of a shul for more than a half-century, a beloved father to my siblings, me, and our spouses, and a devoted grandfather to every one of his grandchildren.

My wife and I were visiting our son Dovie and his family in Silver Spring, Maryland, where he was learning in kollel. One of our daughters, Shiffy, was in the neighborhood with her husband and children. The yahrtzeit fell on Erev Shabbos, and my wife and I visited my father’s kever in suburban Maryland early in the day.

On Shabbos, our son presented me with a book titled “Memories of our Zaidy.” On its cover was a beautiful photo of my father and me. Inside were descriptions and photos from each of our children of memorable interactions they’d experienced with their grandfather.

Dovie’s wife, Devora Rivka (nee Sax), had conceived the idea, and our daughter Esther, a graphic designer, made the idea a reality.

I stared at the book’s cover, then turned the pages. For the first time in memory and, I think, the last time since, I was suddenly, utterly, unable to speak.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 760)

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