Saturday, May 2, 2020

Remembering Grandpa Ralph. z"l

(March 18, 1920-January 28, 2017)

Grandson Ariel Reiner's Hesped (Eulogy)

Writing this speech I felt as if I was adding a footnote to a speech I gave three months ago. Even seeing on my computer folder “hesped for Anita Warburg” and “hesped for Ralph Warburg” sitting next to each other was a very strange feeling. It blurred the two instances in my mind in a way, given that the past few months for my grandfather, like the past many years for my grandmother, were difficult.
But in reality the experience I had knowing my grandfather for 21 years was unique and solitary in its nature. For most of the 21 years I knew him my grandfather was in essence the CEO of the family. He helped those who needed help, was invested in my grandmother’s care, he ran “ARCO” the family company, and he drove until literally no longer possible. He was wonderman, at 95 he looked like 85 and acted like 75. He would even say on his birthday “I think I am turning 23 no?”

My grandfather was what I would call a “stubborn jokester.” He would always tell my mom he didn’t sleep well but it wasn’t too bad because he went downstairs to have ice cream and cake at 2 am. To which my mom would respond “at 95 you can eat whatever you want.”

I’ll never forget the time that he was returning from his routine trip to Atlantic City and he missed the earlier bus home and informed my mom he would be arriving in the middle of the night. My mom said “and how exactly do you expect to get home from the bus stop?” to which he answered “oh don’t worry the bus driver will take me home.” I needed to see this for myself so I waited up. And sure enough at 2 am a coach bus rolls down Eton St. with one stubborn old man on it, successful in his task to prove himself right and make his way home by himself.

He was also intelligent and well rounded. I recall the countless Friday night meals where we would sit at the table and my grandfather would ask me how school was going, which was clearly important to him, or would talk about the ny times article he saw in section D page 12. He would tell us stories about how he ended up Valedictorian of his High School class in Germany, about starting off a career in Washington Heights, and the creation of Moriah including the fights in city hall for its new building. He simply lived in another world, a world of pioneers, one that was in a way hard for me to relate to at times.

I think that at times it was also hard for him to understand the world I was in. On the one hand my grandfather was very meticulous in his religion. He put on his tefillin every day until pretty recently. He went to shul on every yahrzeit even when it was hard for him to walk. But the world of two years in yeshiva in Israel, before college, were certainly new to him. And yet, every week when we would speak while I was in yeshiva he would say “you are happy there right?” and he was happy simply because I was happy.

While my grandfather was fully cognisant until a short while ago and fully self functioning as well, he had his own run ins with accidents. About ten years ago when he was 86 my grandfather was visiting his parents kvarim before Rosh Hashana when his father’s tombstone fell on top of him. Through clear hashgacha pratis, divine intervention, my sister had taught him how to use a cell phone earlier that day and he was able to call 911 and survive that incident with about 9 surgeries to show for it. While most would not have survived such an event, he miraculously continued to walk for another ten years after this, continued his trips to Atlantic City, continued to come to shul, and lived meaninguly for another decade.

I think, דרוש דרך על ,the character of my grandfather I attempted to just capture fits very well with the current time period we find ourselves in. My grandfather ראש השנה the is שבט that us tells מש' ר"ה א:א The. ב' שבט on away passed .לאילנות An אילן ,a tree, stands above all other vegetation; it is quiet, yet sturdy. It does not budge through storm and wind, and allows the rays of the sun to shine through it on to the lower creations. The tree is after all the place אבינו אברהם initially takes the מלאכים to enact the מצוה of אורחים הכנסת ,because it is such an appropriate space for such a מצוה .It is the ultimate giver of shade and protection.

This was my grandfather. He was a tree. He was not a loud person, but stood tall and firm well into his 9th decade of life, providing shade when needed and the sun to shine through on the smaller creations, his many many descendants.

The 'גמ in :ה תענית מסכת recounts a story of two אמוראים ,two rabbinic sages, who were parting ways and were at a loss for words. One tells the other a משל ,a parable, of a tired man who was traveling in the desert and stumbled upon a tree with shade and sweet fruits. The man ate from its fruits and drank from its water.

When he parted from the tree he said "אברכך במה אילן אילן ,"oh tree how shall I bless you? Should I say to you that your fruits shall be sweet? Your fruits are already sweet. Shall I say your shade shall be pleasant? Your shade is already "אלא יהי רצון שכל נטיעות שנוטעין ממך יהיו כמותך" continues man The. pleasant “may it be God’s will that all the shoots planted from you will be like you.”

I think the parallel is quite clear. The fruits of our tree were sweet and the shade of our tree was pleasant. As we part with our tree, our greatest blessing would be to become that tree as well.

My grandfather’s Hebrew name was משולם .My sister asked me yesterday if his name relates to “peace” שלום or completion "שלם ."I think the answer is both.

The 'גמ in :יא הוריות says that another name for צדקיהו ,the final king of the Judean Kingdom was שלום .The 'גמ inquires, why was he called שלום ?שהיה"

"במעשיו משולם because he was complete in his deeds. י"רש explains the word משולם name the Therefore". דצדיק גמור הוא בעל מעשים טובים" mean to משולם

does in fact relate to the name שלום ,peace, yet that is because someone who embodies שלום is someone who is שלם ,complete in that they are a גמור צדיק full .מעשים טובים of

I just need to add one more thing. My mother likes to point out that every medical travesty that happened to my grandparents seemed to happen on a Friday. My grandfather’s accident was on a Friday, my grandmother died on a Friday. Friday, שבת ערב ,is the last day of the החול ימי and שבת represents the 7th day or טבע .Nature’s limit is the 7th day. The 8th day is referred to as מן למעלה הטבע .My grandfather broke into that world of הטבע מן למעלה he survived until the 8th day, שבת מוצאי ,because he was that tree that stood above nature.

.יהי רצון שכל נטיעות שנוטעין ממך יהיו כמותך

תהא נשמתו צרורה בצרור החיים

Granddaughter Rachel Weinstein's remembrance:

ום ראשון קיבלתי את הבשורה שגרנדפה נפטר.

He's gone

כך הם אמר.

בהלוויה של גרנדפה היו כמה וכמה מספידים, אבל היו מוטיבים חוזרים שנאמרו על ידי כולם בצורות


גרנדפה תמיד דאג שכולם יהיו בסדר. במשפחה ומחוץ לה.

הוא היה ממייסדי ביה;ס במקום מגוריו, בעל צדקה נדיב, מצחיק ונעים ועניו.

גרנדפה היה מחייך המון, אהב לחלק לנו סוכריות, לגנוב לנו את האף, לשיר ולרקוד ולעשות


הוא לימד אותנו להקפיץ סכין או מזלג לגובה למורת רוחה של סבתא.

הוא היה יקי במוצאו, אבל באופיו, לא ממש...

גרנדמה, אשתו, עלתה השמימה לפני שלושה חודשים וחצי. בהושענה רבא. ברור לי שהוא פשוט לא

יכול היה להיות פה בלעדיה.

אחד התיאורים של גרנדפה שעלה מכמה נכדים כששוחחנו בינינו היה התיאור של גרנדפה יושב

ואוכל ארוחת בוקר.

הוא היה יושב, בנחת, עם כוס קפה, מוץ תפוזים, ועוגה. ומתענג. בנחת. כך אני זוכרת את גרנדפה.

מתענג. בנחת.

מתענג מן האוכל, מתענג מהילדים, מתענג מן הנכדים והנינים.

יושב ומחייך את החיוך החם שלו.

גרנדפה נפטר בב' שבט, בפתיחת חודש שבט שהוא החודש של תיקון האכילה, האכילה בקדושה.

זה לא שגרנדפה אכל הרבה, אבל כשהוא אכל, הוא אכל. הוא ידע ליהנות מהאוכל.

וחודש שבט הוא גם החודש של האות צ, של הצדיק, שמעביר את השפע לכל. המשביר לכל הארץ.

באמת גרנדפה הרגיש צורך לכלכל את כולם. "everyone must be taken care of"

כך אמר הרב בהספד שלו.

הרב השווה את הגישה הזו של גרנדפה לאמירה של משה רבינו בפרשה ;בנערינו ובזקנינו נלך;. אף

אחד לא נותר מאחור.

אז אמנם אולי גרנדפה לא היה המשביר לכל הארץ, אבל בהלוויה גיליתי שהוא כלכל יותר ממה


ידעתי שהוא תרם באופן קבוע לגופים רבים, אבל לא ידעתי שהוא תרם לאגודת אפרת ושיש ילד

שהוא הסבא הרשמי שלו.

לא ידעתי שבקהילתו היה ידוע שאף אחד לא ביקש תרומה ויצא בידיים ריקות.

אני מרגישה שהאמירה ממש לא מדויקת.

הוא כל כך נוכח. הוא כל כך נמצא.

בארגונים שתרם להם, בבית הספר שייסד, בנו, הילדים הנכדים והנינים.

בשירים, בסיפורים, בזכרונות.

הוא כל כך נמצא.

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