...except for me and my monkey! "Everything we see hides another thing. We always want to see what is hidden by what we see." -Rene Magritte

Friday, January 09, 2009

Baruch Dayan Emet

That's what a traditional Jew is supposed to say when witnessing or learning of a death: "Blessed is the one true judge."

Around 1am, early Wednesday morning, I learned that my beloved rabbi, teacher, and guide Aryeh Hirschfield drowned while snorkeling on vacation in Mexico with his family. (Here is the article from The Oregonian). Cassandra, the woman I spoke to on the phone, said "Aryeh drowned," and I kept turning it over in my head and trying to come up with a way that "drowned" wouldn't mean "died."

The words "baruch dayan emet" popped into my head but I couldn't say them. It didn't seem right. I thought that if I said those words it would be suggesting that Reb Aryeh's death was just. I can't see it that way.

Last night there was a community gathering at St. Mark's, where P'nai Or holds services. I rode there in silence with three other people. There were at least 200 people there, completely broken and devastated. After I found a seat I saw my former thesis adviser and teacher Sylvia walk in. She said "Oh, Jessica" and held out her arms and I fell onto her sobbing. I heard and felt her crying as well. The last time we had seen each other was at my bet din, at which Aryeh officiated.

I can't believe he's gone.