This morning we prepared for a very special guest, cousin Eli Genauer who was flying in from “the Shtetle” Seattle, for just a few hours to visit with us, especially Benny, and give us words of Chizuk (inspiration). (Eli’s father, Uncle Koupel O”H and my Zaida Ben O”H were brothers.)
Before Eli arrived, I fed Benny his breakfast. I thought I would act of some advice I received on livening up Benny’s food. Along side his bowl of Cocoa Krispies, I laid out a happy face made out of fruit. Unfortunately, I only got some strange stares from Benny and no takes on the food. Maybe he just didn’t like way the happy face looked!
Since breakfast didn’t go over to well, we headed to the ice cream parlor with Yehudis. Yehudis is preparing for the Chai Life Line Marathon this Sunday and like Benny, needs calories. B”H Benny seemed to like the ice cream a little more than the bananas I offered him earlier.
After the ice cream parlor, we went to get some household supplies and groceries. As we were strolling up and down the aisles, I saw something that warmed my heart. It was the biggest bag of popcorn I’d ever seen. It right away triggered my all time favorite made up stories by Zaida Ben O”H, of a little girl Sarale who went shopping with her mother and ended up falling in to the big bag of popcorn… The popcorn that Benny was holding was not Kosher so we didn’t buy it, but I just had to take a picture of him holding it. It was bigger than him. So now I am thinking that maybe the Sarale story is true after all. LOL!
A short while later after we got home, Eli arrived with my father and my mother soon after. We reminisced about our ancestors which brought smiles to all our faces. Eli has been going to the Keverim (cemetery) of our great grandparents on a weekly basis Davening for Benny for the past eight months. Benny as well as all of us have benefitted greatly. Thank you!
Eli then went on to tell us how his life has changed since Benny’s diagnosis. (Please forgive me for sharing this publicly, I just wanted to give over the inspiration you gave us today!).
Every Shabbos during Leining (reading of the weekly Torah portion), Eli took it upon himself not to talk in Shul unless it is Divrei Torah on the Parsha. He began preparing 8, two minute Dvor Torahs to say during each Aliya. This commitment spread to his son, Ezra,who sits next to him, and to his 8 year old grandson who also sits in the row. Three generations now learn during the week to prepare for the Divrei Torah they want to share in shul. All as a Zechus for a Refuah Shlema for Binyomin Chaim. After hearing the story, I felt like crying, but managed to get out one word, “WOW”.
Ari and I find it incredible when people tell us how inspired they are by Benny’s story, when in fact we are the ones feeling the inspiration from all of your acts of Chessed (kindness).
Eli, I think we are first cousins once removed, well let me tell you, you are far from “removed.” You wrote a brief email tonight after you returned home, “Faigie wrote the other day about people asking her “what is the prognosis?” It is impossible for anyone to know what the future will bring. But I predict a continued feeling of caring and affection between the members of our family and that is a most extraordinary thing.” I second the motion. We find the closeness of all our family and friends truly remarkable. The sense of unity has given us the extraordinary strength we need to get thru this difficult journey. You have all taken upon yourselves to look for the cure in a spiritual way and that is in essence the most effective treatment of all.
IY”H we should always continue to feel that way about one another through only Simchos (happy occasions).
Watch video of Benny dancing. It was Zaida who got tired of singing, not Benny who got tired of dancing. click link : dancing