Monday, June 14, 2010

Shofar Sounds and the Will to Live

Shofar Sounds and the Will to Live

Arthur L. Finkle

I have a story that took years in the explanation. As was is my custom, I sounded the shofar on the Second Day of Rosh Hashanah at a Jewish Nursing Home near the Trenton-Princeton area in New Jersey. (I sounded the first day at a local synagogue.)
On this subsequent day, after the prayer service at Nursing Home, the Social Worker, asked if I could go to a local hospital where one its residents (95-years old and in failing health) was treating. I would have agreed t sound the shofar for anyone but this person was someone whom I revered. He was an extremely successful appliance dealer from the in 1950’s (TV’s and time saving devices) onwards. He was also very active in the Orthodox Jewish community, having been President of one of the synagogue, an Officer of the Jewish philanthropic organizationin the region.
Upon entering the hospital, I went to the room he was assigned and found the bed empty, portending no good. Nevertheless, the Nurse indicated that he had been transferred into another room in the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU).
At the Nurses’ station in CCU, I found that Mr. Lavine was safely secured in his room. The perplexing issues became was he well enough to receive visitors; and would the sounds of the shear possibly trigger more heart attacks
I showed the shofar to the Nurse, who obviously experienced something she had never seen before. I told her of the obligated to HEAR the sounds of the shofar. When the new Jewish Year begins. (I also explained the Jewish calendar.)
She consented to my visit to Mr. Lavine’s room as long as I closed the door and sounded the shofar softly.
Mr. Lavine, who has been a friend of the family and quite religious, cried when he heard the mystical sounds. I felt pretty good in a spiritual kind of way.
I felt better when, two weeks later, a note from his daughter, who lived 6-hours away. thanked me.

But the story does not end here. In talking to Mr. Lavine’s daughter after a recent Facebook contact, she told me that her Dad had “do not resuscitate orders” and “no heroics” attached to his chart. After he heard the shofar sounds, his will to live came BACK.
Indeed, Mr. Lavine lived to the age of 98.

Now THAT made me glow.


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