Larchmont Temple Chevra Torah

Questioning faith in the parsha

The Times My Father Died by Yehudah Amichai

Read Amichai’s poem “My Father’s Death” and an interview about his father’s death

One Yom Kippur my father stood in front of me in synagogue. I climbed up onto the seat to get a better view of him from the back. His neck is much easier to remember than his face. His neck is always fixed and unchanging; but his face is constantly in motion as he speaks, his mouth gaping like the doorway of a dark house or like a fluttering flag. Butterfly eyes, or eyes like postage stamps affixed to the letter of his face, which is always mailed to faraway places. Or his ears, which are like sails on the sea of his God. Or his face, which was either all red, or white like his hair. And the waves on his forehead, which was a little, private beach beside the sea of the world…..


One response to “The Times My Father Died by Yehudah Amichai

  1. irvzuckerman December 21, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    It has happened again. Just as I saw a parallel between Joseph and Arthur Miller, I see a connection between King David and Yehudah Amichai. Both were warrior poets. Both had the gift of putting words together as if mixing a magic potion that truly cast a spell. I, too, have a picture of my father where I see …”the face of a man who has started eating his favorite dish and is disappointed to find it flavor somewhat unsavory.” I have wondered at that picture countless times without the power to put his expression into words.
    The one phrase in Reva’s biog of Amichai that he served in the Jewish Brigade of the British Army opened other doors for me. Some years ago, quite by accident because I had never programmed it, my VCR recorded a documentary film of the Jewish Brigade. The British did not want to train and arm the Jews of Palestine because they knew they would be creating the Haganah, but their heavy casualties gave them no choice. Here’s an unknown piece of Jewish history that is well worth knowing. If I can figure out how to convert that old-fashioned casset to a DVD I’ll pass some around. A warrior and a poet. Quite a combination.

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