Friday, October 16, 2015

Monologue Mania Day #612 Yarzheit (Memorial Candle) by Janet S. Tiger Oct. 16, 2015

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--------------------------------------------------------------------------- Monologue Mania Day #612  Yarzheit (Memorial Candle) by Janet S. Tiger  Oct. 16, 2015

                                              (memorial candle)
                                       a monologue by Janet S. Tiger
                                           © all rights reserved

           (An older man enters, carrying a yartzheit candle, which he places on the table, he turns to the audience and listens, Polish accent)

You want to hear that story again?  All right......I'll tell it.  It started with a question from me, to my father.....I was just about your age.....

If the candle blows out, does it mean the soul is gone, Papa?

No, it just means someone left the door open too long, my boy.  A person's soul is a very special thing, and the good deeds you do while alive, live on long after the body is in the ground.

What about the bad deeds, Papa?  What about the bad?

My father looked at me, and put his hand on my shoulder.  'The bad deeds live on as well, which is why we only want to do good while we are here.

Why do you ask about the bad deeds?

Because the man who threw the shoe at you in the store, he cost you a new customer, and that meant we had no meat for Sabbath that week, maybe more than one week, because a new customer might have money and be able to get new shoes every few months.......

You are observant, my son, and that is good.  I don't know if throwing the shoe was a bad deed, just bad temper.  And Mr. Levitsky did die later that month, not reaching the new it's possible what he did in anger lives on.......let me think about your question and I will ask the rabbi...

I was working in my father's shop, he was a shoemaker, you might have guessed......and he came back from morning prayers with a big smile on his face.

He told me the rabbi had answered his question with another question for us to think about.....almost a legal question....what was the intent of the deed?  Did the person mean to do harm?  Know that harm was being done?  If so, the damage is greater.....but if the intent was not intentional......if the person was just being themselves.....then the bad deed might just as well turn out to have good threads attached.....

It turns out the man who threw the shoe, then died, he had been angry that his shoes were not ready, and did not intend to scare away another customer.  He saw the customer at prayers, and told the truth, that my father was a good shoemaker, and did good repairs, if a little slow, and that he had had a bad day, and was not feeling well.

He was not feeling well because his heart was giving out, and soon, he would be a memory, a candle lit once a year.

But the man he spoke to during prayers...the man who returned a few months later, was, in fact, a wealthy man, from Moscow, visiting family.  Even though he was rich, he was smart with his money.  Shoes cost more money in Moscow, so upon learning my father was a good shoemaker, he made plans for his next trip, when he brought his entire family for a wedding, and he had my father make the shoes.    Ten pairs, all very fancy.  I helped, so I remember.  We worked all night, measuring, cutting, polishing.....but they weren’t ready!  We needed more time!  The wedding was the next day -across town at the rich man's synagogue.  What were we going to do! 

But the rich man was also clever about people…..and it turns out he had told my father a date that was.... two days early, so we could finish.... and the shoes were ready just in time for the wedding!  The man was happy, and sent his friends when they were traveling, and with the new business, my father made enough so that we had the funds to leave our village ....the only member of his family to survive the war.

All because of a thrown shoe - which became our salvation.

I like to think of it as.....a sole for a soul......

And that is why I light this yartzheit for a complete stranger whose name I do not know.  Because he and his family have no one to light candles for them......

         (He lights the candle and begins the prayer.  Lights down ...but never extinguished for these souls.)

For more about yartzheit candles-

  Book of Proverbs 20:27 "The soul of man is a candle of the Lord."[4]

Definitions -
(Hebrew) ner neshama - soul candle

(Yiddish) yartzheit likt - anniversary light - from German year time
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Janet S. Tiger    858-736-6315
Member Dramatists Guild since 1983
Swedenborg Hall 2006-8

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