Reb Moshe Cohen, on your 80th Birthday

Moshe's yahrzeit is 3 Elul  5767

Moshe's beloved wife Jean's yahrzeit is two nights earlier, 1 Elul
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June 19, 2002  ~ Sivan 5762  80th Birthday of Reb Moshe Cohen

Dear Chevre,
A little something I said spontaneously to my friend during his celebration. 
Enjoy, love Joy

Baruch Hashem
80th Birthday of Reb Moshe Cohen

Eighty years and eight days today you are, dear Moshe. The eight days are not for your bris but they are for you a circumcision of the heart, so listen carefully to all your friends as they pay you tribute and honor as you are their teacher and friend and family. The eighth day is one beyond seven (eternal Divine lighting, like the Menorah branches) and one beyond  G*d's physical week, representing deep spirituality and miracles. 
Yasher Koach and Mazal Tov to 120!

Baruch Ata Adonanai, Elohenu Melech HaOlam, Shehecheyanu Vekiyemanu
Vehigianu Lazemen Hazeh.  


On the occassion of your 80th birthday, at your suggestion I studied the Parsha Chukat in Bamidbar and Haftarah Chukat, Judges 11:30-33 and Judges 11:34-40 regarding Jephthah the Gileadite's daughter. Your Bar Mitzvah parsha is BeHa'alotecha. As you informed me this is also my birth parsha and the parsha of my husband, Marcel Krauthammer. I challenged myself to leyn and read from Torah for my double nickel birthday (55) two weeks ago. 

To prepare for the reading on June 1, 2002, 21 Sivan 5762, first I had Marcel tape-record for me the first four lines I would chant. (And he did this literally five minutes before transferring onto the gurneyand going into cancer surgery at Cedars Sinai Hospital. I was persistent, and Marcel,
cooperative. Like Miriyahm, prepared, I brought the Chumash with me to the hospital.)

Barbara Klaristenfeld had been helping me to relearn my Hebrew in her parents' class at Heschel Day School.

I called you up for help in learning the translation of every word in BeHa'alotecha, Numbers 8:1-4. I needed to understand so completely and deeply what the Parsha was about. And I did. And I gave a drash at shul, with artistic visuals, where I serve the Holy One joyously as percussionist.

Coming to my aid, you Moshe, were there for me as you have always been there for me all the many years I have known you (twenty something). Inspiring and motivating and challenging me to study and learn. I know I can always call you when I have questions about Torah and you will direct
me into new worlds of commentaries and comparisons. You gave me my first aliyah (it was awesome) at Valley Beth Shalom's Library Minyan years ago. It was a surprise for me, and Joyce Kirsch stood by my side, supportive of me. 
(Aviva actually 'ran off' with my favorite books that I would study with you Moshe, and now she studies them with you long distance by telephone.)

Looking at the two parshiot, I see a connection between your Bar Mitzvah parsha and the Haftorah you just gave a drash on, as Darshon, for your birthday celebration with the Library Minyan.

The seven-branched Temple Menorah is remembered today as the eight-branched  Chanukiyah, the Chanukah menorah, as it is re-dedicated, annually for us all to recall the events which recognize our faith and Hashem's miracles. The Divine Light of the Menorah reminds us to reach our full potential in our service to G-d and humanity and ourself. I've learned that all of our activities should be directed toward the Center, toward the service of G*d.

We, too, can remember Jephthah's daughter and rededicate ourselves to the Light of Torah. As most Biblical women unnamed in Torah, She'ilah (The-One-Who-Is-Demanded) as she is known in Midrash, can be remembered on her yahrzeit, 21 Sivan, the same day we read BeHa'alotecha. This date is two months after she went out the door of her father's home on 21 Nissan, with timbrels and joyful dance to meet her father, Jephthah, as he won the war and returned home. She danced like Miriyahm HaNeviah the Prophetess did joyously on 21 Sivan as she crossed the Sea of Reeds in celebration of freedom with timbrels and dance. (Exodus 15:21) In Parsha Chukat, the righteous
Miriyahm dies 10 Nisan, as does Miriyahm's Well. (Numbers 20:1)

Rashi questions regarding comparison on the Red Heifer: What is the purpose of the sacrifices? They effect atonement as does the death of the righteous.

Unfortunately, Jephthah had made a pledge to G-d that if he won, the first thing out his door to greet him would be sacrificed, and so it was. 
(Judges 11:30-31) "If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, then shall it be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering". Jephthah's daughter asked her father for two months, so that she might go to the mountains with young friends and "bewail her virginity". (Judges 11:38)

Moshe, you have always encouraged me to know especially the Bible women. We can remember the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite and the women of the Bible, especially on their Yahrzeit dates. We can give them voices.

We can be the best we can be: study Hebrew, study Torah, receive aliyotchant Torah, offer a teaching, meditate, observe new rituals, old traditions, do acts of kindness, kindle a light to spread the G*d's Light, and to give thanks, and to acknowledge the Holy One's presence everywhere and say bruchot, and with timbrels--sing and dance joyously to G*d to celebrate, just as did Jephthah's daughter and Miriyahm Haneviah.

A new word of Torah which comes from the mouth of a teacher ascends to the heavens and adds glory to God's Crown. (Zohar)

Much love, Shabbat shalom and blessings to you for a long and healthy life, filled with peace and joy (gila, rena, ditza, simcha, hedva, sasoon, osher, oneg.) What are the other types of joy? 
May you be blessed and strengthened as you have blessed and strengthened your students. 
I love you so much, just as I know you love me.
Thank you for being you, dear Reb Moshe.

Joy Krauthammer
Gila Rena Zohara bat Yosef V'Leba bat Ethel, bat Peart, bat Ethel
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On Moshe's 4th yahrzeit

Chodesh Tov, Shalom, Moshe chevre,

Yes, of course I have dear Moshe's, z"l, yahrzeit on my calendar, and Jean's, z"l, too.

I recall sitting with Aviva by dear Moshe, just a day or so before G*d reclaimed his soul. He told WW 2 stories to Aviva that I asked him to share with her. (That was when he'd shared a bunk with Zero Mostel.) I had brought a hand-picked beautiful etrog to Moshe, as I'd done the year before. I loved seeing the photo of Moshe and Aviva on the shelf near him.  I still love seeing the photo of Moshe and friends in my sukkah.

Moshe was the first person to offer me an aliyah at the Torah. The honor was at the VBS Library Minyan, and I asked dear Joyce, z"l, to stand by me, to support me in the saying of the blesSing. The warms my heart to remember, and I never forget it. I continue to have aliyot (especially at VBS) knowing where I was first blessed. Moshe was a believer in women's rights.

I remember Moshe studying with Marcel, z"l, over the phone every Friday for many years, for the parshas they would each chant the next day at their respective minyans. Marcel would fall asleep and I could hear Moshe calling to him (or was it vice versa?).
Moshe would have me open Legends and over the phone he would teach me. I gave Legends to Aviva when she moved because it was a precious book filled with memories for us all.

Moshe was not happy with my studying Kabbalah because it was a "back door" to Torah. At least I opened the door and walked in.

Dear Moshe, I bet you don't know that I, too, wear Birkenstock sandals everywhere, because I saw you do this. I bet you don't know that I followed you secretly in shul and simcha hallways, just to make sure in the last years you got to where you were going, and back again.  I love you. Thank you for being all you were to my Aviva, who loved you so much.
So many more sweet memories. My face is dripping wet.

BlesSings for health, wholeness, shalom, revealed miracles, and joy,
"Serve G*d With Joy "
"The Divine One is The Source of Joy. To be joyous is to be connected with the Source.
One who is connected to the Source IS joyous!"  - Reb Sholom Brodt
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Maybe you too, knew and loved Reb Moshe Cohen, z'l. May all we learn and do give iluii neshamah, for his soul to have a greater aliyah.