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Alan D Busch

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Member Since: Feb, 2008

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A Chapter of Stuff My Father Won't Tell Me to be published.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008  12:10:00 PM

by Alan D Busch

The Jewish Press (NY), America''s largest Jewish independent weekly,will publish an abbreviated revision of Chapter 11 of Stuff My Father Won''t Tell Me in January of 2009. See below.

Stuff My Father Won't Tell Me
Struggling To Do The Right Thing

It wasn’t so much my father’s problem as it was mine.

The commandment to honor one’s parents had always been for me simply …

the right thing to do. Jewish tradition characterizes it, however, as the most

challenging of the Taryag Mitzvos. Anyone who has ever cared for a

terminally ill parent appreciates the difficulty of performing this mitzvah well.

With the approaching Aseres Y’mai Teshuva, I found myself struggling with

how best to honor my father who had been battling colon cancer for two years.

Hospitalized twice since July of 2008, we moved him to a skilled nursing

facility. He lived there for fifteen days before he died on Shabbos. I was at his


My father’s condition made it impossible for him to attend high

holy day services this year as he had in years past. I was unsure whether to

attend services or be at his hospital bedside. I wanted to do the right thing, to

decide upon the right path and soon. “I’ll be staying here with Dad for Rosh Ha

Shana,” I told my older brother Ron who had already postponed his flight

several times. However, after two weeks with Dad, he had to return home.

“I cannot in good conscience go to shul,” I added. Ron’s face brightened as

if to say ‘You’ve made the right decision little brother’.

“Well,” he observed pithily, “if you can’t take care of your father at a time like this,

religion isn't worth much, is it?"

“I couldn’t agree more Ron,” I replied, smiling at my brother’s roughly hewn

pshat of the Fifth Commandment. I had never seen my older brother weep

before. I guess there is a first time for everything. I turned aside. “Hey,” he said,

gently draping his forearm on the back of my neck and shoulders. “Thank you.”

If my father could not come to Rosh Ha Shana, I’d bring Rosh Ha

Shana to him. Hoping to elevate my family’s mitzvah of bikkur cholim to a

Kiddush Ha Shem, I brought a holiday meal to the hospital for my family.

My daughter Kimberly cried. Perhaps the festive food would help to strengthen

our emunah that The Aibishter might still inscribe and seal my father in the

Book of Life. 

The eve of Yom Ha Din approached. Who would live? Who would die? Who

would be sealed in the Sefer Ha Chaim?  I found myself wrestling with a more

intense moral dilemma than the one I had faced several days earlier. The

awesome finality of Yom Kippur filled me with greater uncertainty and

dread. My father continued to decline. How would I live with myself tomorrow

if I were not at my father’s bedside today? Would I have to plead for my father’s

life before the Aron Kodesh?  I needed guidance.

I called Rabbi Louis. We chatted for an hour. I learned how he had cared for his

dying father years before but could not bring myself to ask him what he

would have done had his father been dying on the eve of Yom Kippur.

I went early next morning to visit my father. Time was running out just hours

before Kol Nidre. While my father slept, I called my friend Ephraim, a halachic

Jew, who hosts an on-line yeshiva where I have read some of my poetry and

prose. Preoccupied with his eighty-six year old mother who, like my father, was

terminally ill with stage four cancer, he told me he'd be staying at home with

her for yontif. I was thunderstruck. His timely story of hashgacha pratis

resolved my dilemma.

Rabbi Louis called me motzai yontif. I relayed Ephraim’s story. “Baruch Ha

Shem!” he responded, once more validating his belief that “Got firt da velt.”

“The Aibishter  sends messengers to help us make the right decision,”

Rabbi counseled. My right decision enabled my dad and me to reach closer to

The One Above than either of us could have done separately.

I was called to his bedside late Shabbos morning, My father’s neshuma was

readying itself to depart. A sound came from his throat as he drew his

last breaths.  A final calm blanketed him. He was warm and at ease.

A part of my father had gone missing eight years before when his twenty-two

year old grandson, my son Ben, departed this world. It's hard to pin down, but I

suspect it left at the same time as Ben's neshuma. Like Jacob who had clung

to Esau's heel, it attached itself to Ben's ha akev shel ha nefesh, the heel of his

soul, taking a little bit of my father with him. Now on this Shabbos

Kodesh, my father would at long last be whole again.



Revised 10/27/08 


Alan D. Busch


 More News about Alan D Busch
It's Finally Here! - 5/21/2012 6:41:00 AM

It's Finally Here! - 5/21/2012 6:41:00 AM

See Alan's front book cover in Jewish Business News - 3/27/2012 12:53:00 PM

Between 10 and 5 With Dad/Keeping The 5th Commandment by Alan D. Busch - 3/20/2012 10:37:00 AM

Synopsis for Alan D. Busch's second book Between Fathers and Sons - 1/29/2011 6:18:00 PM

Click on to read the latest work of Alan D. Busch - 1/7/2011 6:14:00 AM

News Stories by Alan D. Busch - 10/19/2010 8:26:00 AM

Follow Me on and chicago - 9/5/2010 7:16:00 PM

Alan now writing for - 8/5/2010 6:36:00 PM

Losing Ben published at - 3/8/2010 7:18:00 AM

Help Me To Select A Chapter - 1/27/2010 3:57:00 PM

Alan Asks A Favor of His Readers - 1/13/2010 6:09:00 AM

I Grieve ... Published online at Chicago Jewish United Federation - 11/11/2009 2:09:00 PM


Reckonings A Language You Understand in the Orthodox Union - 8/8/2009 7:27:00 PM

New Horizons Features Alan's Story - 6/18/2009 6:50:00 AM

Alan on Facebook - 6/17/2009 8:57:00 PM

This Sunday, 6/21/09 at - 6/17/2009 7:01:00 AM

Read Alan's Short Story Published In This Week' s Jewish Press - 5/20/2009 8:38:00 AM

Shabbos Mincha With Reb Isser to Be Published - 3/23/2009 5:10:00 AM


My Story Reckoning To Be Published - 3/4/2009 8:21:00 PM

Tefilin and Teacher Publication News - 2/23/2009 8:20:00 AM

Upcoming Purim Publication - 1/27/2009 3:21:00 PM to Publish Original Short Story - 12/14/2008 3:24:00 PM

Upcoming Publications - 12/13/2008 3:57:00 PM

Living With Loss, Bereavement Publications will publish Alan's article - 11/22/2008 5:58:00 PM

Lamentations now published on-line and in print - 10/10/2008 8:29:00 AM

Please Respond to My Plea! - 10/7/2008 7:42:00 AM

Updated Publication Credits of Alan D. Busch - 8/24/2008 7:08:00 PM

Jewish Press to Publish Lamentations - 8/20/2008 4:34:00 AM - 8/5/2008 4:51:00 PM

Click on - 7/29/2008 2:35:00 PM

Snapshots Reviewed by Book Editor of - 7/28/2008 10:44:00 AM

click on - 7/18/2008 2:57:00 AM

MEDICAL UPDATE FROM THURSDAY NIGHT 7/17/08 - 7/17/2008 8:11:00 PM

My Father's Additional Medical Update - 7/17/2008 7:50:00 PM

Update on My Father's Illness - 7/16/2008 7:00:00 AM

my father is dying . - 7/11/2008 1:20:00 PM

Click on - 4/28/2008 10:48:00 PM

Review of Snapshots In Memory of Ben - 3/16/2008 12:17:00 PM

Publication News - 3/16/2008 6:15:00 AM

DISCOUNTED Copies of Snapshots Available - 3/11/2008 3:17:00 PM - 3/8/2008 8:58:00 AM

Poetica Magazine to publish a new poem by Alan Busch - 3/3/2008 7:11:00 PM

Author of Bereavement Memoir Seeks Out Other Bereavement Stories - 3/1/2008 2:49:00 PM

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