The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 27 October 2007 / 15 Heshvan 5768

Grandpa's Tune

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library
It was a story typical of the spiritual degeneration of the generations. The son of religious parents went astray and his own son was totally estranged from Judaism.

But the boy paid a regular brief visit to his grandfather every Shabbat eve and listened as he sang the songs traditionally sung before kiddush. Although he had no idea of what the words meant he was captivated by the melody.

Time passed and the boy got married, fortunately to a Jewish girl. His grandfather's song pursued him and he decided to trace its source. Together with his wife he entered a Jewish bookstore and asked the clerk if he had a clue as to which words accompanied the melody he sang for him. It took a couple of renditions until the clerk happily exclaimed: "This is the tune to which many Jews traditionally sing the words of ‘Eshet Chail' – Woman of Valor ’ before their Shabbat eve meal."

He then proceeded to provide the couple with a zemirot booklet that contained an English translation of this chapter of Mishlei (Proverbs). As the young wife read the beautifully poetic tribute to the Eishet Chail her eyes lit up and she turned to her husband with these words:

"If this is what Judaism thinks of the woman I want to live a religious lifestyle!"

The happy ending of the story is that the couple did indeed become observant Jews — all because of Grandpa's tune.

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