May 14, 2007

Psalm 15

Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
Those who refuse to gossip
or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.
Those who despise flagrant sinners,
and honor the faithful followers of the Lord,
and keep their promises even when it hurts.
Those who lend money without charging interest,
and who cannot be bribed to lie about the innocent.
Such people will stand firm forever.

He was 4’9″ and wore size 4 shoes. Well, cowboy boots. He was missing his two front teeth and wore a variety of old, on the verge of wearing out, vintage western shirts, a beat up cowboy hat, and large Christian Dior glasses. A fashion plate Job was not.

He walked everywhere. In his boots. He lived alone, used a conversion oven because microwaves are eviiiill and blew his shofar three times a day while watching hours and hours of TBN.

I can’t adequately describe Job to you. Unless you had met him you wouldn’t understand. I would, in an attempt to explain him, sometimes say he was a 56 year old body housing a 12 year old boy. He existed to serve people around him. Truly more generosity in that small package than anywhere else I’ve ever seen it.

And this last weekend he got the chance to go to the Men’s Retreat. He told someone he “needed to get there early to get the lay of the land.” Why? So he would know how to “serve the men better”. My husband tells me he was having the time of his life. Even ate just a small salad for lunch because he was “saving up” for the turkey dinner they were going to have.

Then around 4:00 things went horribly wrong or terribly right.

Job had a heart attack. Despite the best efforts of 4 men (one a trained paramedic), the sheriff’s department and the EMT’s he passed away. He was gone. Just like that.

35 men were left to sort it out.

You know what strikes me the most about this? How much G-d loved Job. If you would have seen him traipsing around town you would have thought “what a weirdo.” or “that poor homeless man”. First appearances would cause 90% of humanity to completely disregard Job. He could have died alone in his apartment and no one would have known until he didn’t show up for service and we didn’t have anyone to make the coffee. He could have had a heart attack on the street and been a spectacle or an object of pity.

Because of G-d’s great care and concern for Job, he died surrounded by strong men fighting desperately for his life. His body was wrapped in his tallit (prayer shawl) and these same men went in, one by one, to pay their respect. To pray and say their goodbyes. To grieve about our loss and to rejoice in his journey to heaven.

To us he was a friend, a faithful member of our congregation, a generous benefactor to our children. To us he was family.

There are no insignificant lives in the Body. Our G-d cares for each of us. G-d orchestrates our lives even when it comes to the circumstances of our last breath on earth and our first in eternity.

The Mourners Kaddish

May His great Name grow exalted and be sanctified in the world that He created as He willed. May He give reign to His kingship in your lifetimes and in your days, and in the lifetimes of the entire Family of Israel, swiftly and soon. May His great Name be blessed forever and ever. Blessed, praised, glorified, exalted, extolled, mighty, upraised, and lauded be the Name of the Holy One. Blessed is He beyond any blessing and song, praise and consolation that are uttered in the world. May there be abundant peace from Heaven and life upon us and upon all Israel. He Who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace, upon us and upon all Israel.