Friday, May 26

TEARS FOR A RIGHTOUS WOMAN

Rebbetzin Jackie Wein A”H wife of Rabbi Berel Wein Shlita was just niftar.

I grew up in Rabbi Weins shul. Actually, I was practically born there. As soon as I learned how to walk my Daddy would take me to Rabbi Wein’s shul every week. Rabbi Wein was not only the Rav of my shul, he was my menahel, my Jewish history teacher, the Mesader Kedushin at my wedding. (The Weins only moved to Israel after I got married and moved away.)

But as much as I adored Rabbi Wein, Rebbetzin Wein was the heart and soul of our shul. Every week when I came to shul she’d be standing there looking lovely, with her daughters beside her.

I actually studied her because I sat several rows behind her.
To me she was the best example of an aidel, refined woman, someone of whom you could imagine Shlomo Hamelech having written Eishes Chayil about. She had the gentlest Midwestern accent and a smile that was as warm as the summer sun.
Every week she would say to me, “Kasamba, you’re a pleasure to look at.”
Even when I looked like chulent.

But there’s more, so much more.

Everything I am and everything I do, is due in part to Rebbetzin Wein.

You see when I was a girl, there were lots of girls and I was considered average. I was just one of many, I was never given a chance to shine.
It was Rebbetzin Wein who gave me that chance.

Every year in the shul the girls in the shul would put on a play that Rebbetzin Wein would write and direct. She was so talented and creative; her plays were so funny and cute. I was plotzing to be in it but there was a catch; you had to be Bas Mitzvah to join. Being a year and a bit away from Bas Mitzvah, I begged Rebbetzin Wein to let me be in the play. Of course, being the soft hearted person she was, she gave me a non speaking part, albeit one that required me to be on stage for the duration of the play. I was to be a doctor’s secretary on the right side of the stage, while all the action happened on the left side of the stage, which was the doctor’s office.
Rebbetzin Wein let me wing it.

Being the frustrated thespian that I was, I brought an entire bag of props with me to use while I was sitting at the secretary’s desk. First I filed my nails and the crowd went wild when I lifted my foot onto the desk and pretended to start on my toenails. I sharpened pencils wiggling my entire body every time I rotated the pencil sharpener. I did so many more absolutely bizarre things that my Mom still cracks up when she thinks about it. Needless to say, hardly anyone watched the main play. They were too busy watching the action on my side of the stage.

I remember Rebbetzin Wein laughing so hard and telling me that I had ‘stolen the show’, which apparently I did.

Believe it or not, that kick-started my life.
Suddenly I wasn’t just Kasamba – child 0143, I was Kasamba- bearer of the weird and wonderful.
Suddenly I was able to get huge parts in plays.
Suddenly I was someone that people remembered (which much to my chagrin, they still do).

Suddenly I was a somebody.

When I heard that she passed away, I couldn’t see through the veil of tears I shed. She meant so much to me and was such an integral part of my childhood, but I didn’t recall telling her that.
As kids, we take, take, take, grow up, move away and don’t even give a backward glance. Why didn’t I ever mention it to her? Why did I wait?

What kind of person needs someone to pass away before they sit up and realise just how much they meant to them? But when I cried to my Daddy and lamented the fact that so much appreciation for Rebbetzin Wein went unexpressed, my lovely Daddy told me, “Kasamba, don’t feel bad. I told her how much you appreciated and valued her, every single time I saw her.”
Daddy, I can’t thank you enough for that.

I am going to Israel B’ezras Hashem on Sunday. Instead of introducing Rebbetzin Wein to my kids, I will be paying a shiva call to Rabbi Wein.

Some good will have come from this post if each of you picks up the phone to someone who had a Hashpoah on your life, and tell them how much they mean to you.
Before its too late.

37 Comments:

At 9:51 AM, Blogger the only way i know said...

Thank you, Kas - that was very beautiful -
i hope to use this important lesson -and tell the people in my life how much they mean to me - often -
these wake up calls are happening too often lately..
on a lighter note
I'm comin over to watch you manicure your nails -lol
have a good shabbos, sheifele.

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger Jerusalemcop said...

Kasamba,

wow. very nice post. Very true also.
Just one note. It's not too late for you to tell her how much you appreciated her. When you go to the shiva make sure that Rabbi Wein and their children know how special she was to you. They say that the deceased are around the shiva house during the week, so she'll know how much she meant to you.

May we only know of happy occassions.

Shabbat shalom

J.

 
At 1:33 PM, Blogger s.J. said...

i'm sorry.
may we only know of better times.

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger exsemgirl said...

Sadly it is a fact of life.
We only really appreciate things when they are taken from us or even threatened to be taken...

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger kishmech said...

Amen to that. x

 
At 3:06 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

theonlywayiknow;
the wake up calls are happening a little too often lately. I'm glad that you'll do somethng about it. Thanks mine shatzili.

j-cop;
I didn't know that! That makes me feel a whole lot better. Amen and thanks for that!

SJ:
Thanks- I hope so!

Exsem:
How true that is. I had to learn the hard way.

Kish:
Ta Luv.

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger Limey2001 said...

I thought rabbi wein is sitting in Monsey?

 
At 3:45 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Limey:
He's sitting there on Wed, in the meantime he's sitting in Israel.

 
At 6:13 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Wow I am glad I found this out. What beautiful things to learn from.

 
At 7:26 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Thanks sweetie.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger jim said...

Such a universal post, and I agree with jerusalemcop, tell em.

This piece is super good too, you must be a professional, but how could you be a pro-writer when you tend garden so much of the time? Yet, you obviously are, one way or another, very impressive.

Thanks again, I enjoyed the visit.

 
At 9:37 AM, Blogger ~ Sarah ~ said...

baruch dayan emet.

beautiful post, thank you for sharing your experiences.

may you have a safe and meaningful trip to Israel.

shavua tov!

 
At 10:22 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

Jim:
Thanks for dropping by!
Besides yelling at my kids, writing is my favourite mode of expression!

Sarah:
As always, I am grateful for your good wishes! Gut voch to you too!

 
At 11:23 PM, Blogger Jerusalemcop said...

enjoy ur trip, here in the holy land.

J.

 
At 12:49 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

J-Cop;
Thanks!

 
At 3:43 AM, Blogger Stacey said...

What a beautiful tribute to a remarkable woman. May her memory be for a blessing.

 
At 5:28 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

Stacey, thank you,
that means alot to me.

 
At 7:52 AM, Blogger Frum but Thinking said...

It's funny you mention this. My dad has done quite a bit of work for Rabbi Wein. (As I wish to remain anonymous, I won't say what!)But anyhow, when my dad heard about Reb. Wein's passing, he sent him an email with condolences and some Chizuk, and he wrote back a letter telling my dad how much Reb. Wein loved the work my dad did. Just a nice gesture.

BTW- how can you keep track of all your favorite blogs? I am a little confused with this. Do you need RSS, or what?

 
At 5:04 PM, Blogger FrumGirl said...

Baruch Dayan Haemet... Thanks for the advice, Kasamba.

 
At 5:08 PM, Blogger boyfromtheblock said...

BD"H

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger cruisin-mom said...

Kasamba: beautiful post. I really believe in the "pay it forward" theory. What the Rebbetzin gave to you, you have given to others. And, I believe, that is what would be most important to her. So, in your own way, you have already shown your appreciation for her, just by being who you are (this made sense inside my head...hope it makes sense here!)

 
At 1:47 AM, Blogger notahottie said...

wow. that was so beautiful and well written. thank you!

 
At 1:23 PM, Blogger Pragmatician said...

How sad you lost such a special person, who meant so much to you and many others.
Think of the huge privilege to have known her personally and for having had the Zechus to have made her laugh.

Brauch Dayan Emes

 
At 1:58 AM, Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

I'm sorry...

Beautiful..and touching. A branch of my family is very close with the Weins...and from the little that I've come across them..they are truly remarkable..

May you be a good Hashpoah on others..as she was to you..

 
At 7:21 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

Frumbut thinking:
He is amazing, that Rabbi Wein!-BTW I have everyone on my favoutites list.

Frimgirl:
Thanks me luv!

Boy from:
Ta!

Crusin:
You can't imagine how I loved what you wrote- How I hope you're right!

 
At 7:22 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

Prag:
As usual your are right!

David:
Amen!
and as always my thanks!

 
At 5:35 PM, Blogger Bonnie B said...

You are such a beautiful person with so much to say.

 
At 9:26 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

Bonnie:
Wow.
I really appreciate that.

 
At 6:18 PM, Blogger RR said...

What a lovely tribute to a wonderful woman! I never knew her, but you painted such a vivid picture of her. It's really amazing the effect one person can have on our lives. I'm so sorry for your loss. Baruch dayan emet.

 
At 10:05 PM, Blogger kasamba said...

RR:
Thank you, she really was a special person.

 
At 1:11 AM, Blogger SephardiLady said...

Beautiful tribute.

 
At 8:56 AM, Blogger kasamba said...

sephardilady:
Thank you.

 
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