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"Elter Zeide"

Friday, 17 January, 2014 - 3:06 pm

Not too many people merit to see grandchildren of their grandchildren. My great grandfather had this incredible privilege.  

elter zeide - small.jpgRabbi Yehuda Chitrik lived in three centuries. He was born in 1899 in Czarist Russia and passed away eight years ago today, the 16th of Shvat, at the age of 106. He traveled to the city of Lubavitch by horse and carriage, and surfed the internet at his old age. He lived to see many of his fourth generation descendants, among them our oldest daughter Mussi (in the picture).

Rabbi Chitrik was a man of many tributes. He was Torah Scholar, a teacher, an amazing family man, and a very kind and patient person.

He was in all his capacities until weeks before his passing; he knew all his great grandchildren (over one hundred) by name and was caring for their wellbeing.

There is one encounter that I hope will stay with me for my entire life. It was the 100th birthday of "Elter Zeide" (as we used to call him with great respect), and I phoned to give him my wishes on this awesome day.

What do you wish a man of this age? "You should be healthy" I said (in Yiddish) "and you should have much Nachas from your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren".                                    

In response, I heard the high voice of Rabbi Chitrik "and what about me?! I should have Nachas from myself too! May the second hundred be better than the first one!"...

For many of us, there is a stage in life when we stop thinking "what I will do when I grow up". That wasn’t the case with "Elter Zeide". Every day as he woke up he knew that this is G-d saying that there was more for him to do; that his life still mattered.

I don't know if this was his secret for his long healthy years, but it was no doubt his way of maintaining a blissful and meaningful life. May his memory be of a blessing.


Comments on: "Elter Zeide"

Lorna Denning wrote...

You are a very lucky man and so was your great grandfather. My father's parents and his entire family perished in Poland in the Holocaust. What country did your grandfather live his life?

Don Morris wrote...

Thank you Rabbi Meir for sharing Elter Zeide with us. Hearing of his life, seeing him holding Mussi, hearing how he knew his life mattered, etc., gives me pause for reflection.

Mercedes Verrier wrote...

Why some people last longer than others in this world is a mystery for sure. What really matters is that his presence in your life and the life of others was a blessing.

lindy shortt wrote...

Thank you, Rabbi, for sharing this uplifting anecdote about your Elter Zeide Z"L, with us.

I smiled as I read his comment you, but was mostly struck with the amazing sense of purpose he had for each of his 106 years of life.

The photo of him and Mussi was precious!

May you, Chani and your wonderful kinderlach continue to get and to give Yiddishe nachus from each other (and from yourselves).