וְהָיָה כִּי תָבוֹא אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּ בָּהּב. וְלָקַחְתָּ מֵרֵאשִׁית כָּל פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר תָּבִיא מֵאַרְצְךָ אֲשֶׁר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ וְשַׂמְתָּ בַטֶּנֶא וְהָלַכְתָּ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר יִבְחַר יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְשַׁכֵּן שְׁמוֹ שָׁםג. וּבָאתָ אֶל הַכֹּהֵן אֲשֶׁר יִהְיֶה בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו הִגַּדְתִּי הַיּוֹם לַי־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי בָאתִי אֶל הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע יְ־הֹוָ־ה לַאֲבֹתֵינוּ לָתֶת לָנוּד. וְלָקַח הַכֹּהֵן הַטֶּנֶא מִיָּדֶךָ וְהִנִּיחוֹ לִפְנֵי מִזְבַּח יְ־הֹוָ־ה אֱלֹהֶיךָ
These first four verses of this weeks parsha describe the divine command off settling in Eretz Yisrael, establishing a viable economy and bringing the first fruits to the cohen.
In this week Gerald, Yaacov Asher ben Nachman and Sara Hacohen, my soul brother, you have departed in suffering from this world and will not fulfil your priestly tasks in the Bet hamikdash that will be built bimheira beyameinu.
Your life has been characterized by many years of wanderings before making your final aliyah to Israel.
After qualifying as an accountant you married my sister Brenda, and after a short while travelled to Europe which you toured extensively in a tent tour, visiting Israel prior to the 6 day war. You returned to England, continued with post graduate studies in Business administration. Your first son, Uri was born in London. You returned to South Africa and the came on aliya and eventually settled in Ramat Hasharon. Your late daughter Daniella was born but succumbed to a genetic inborn error of metabolism in her infancy, and was buried in this Cemetery in which we will soon inter you. Your inquisitive mind and altruistic spirit led you to a move to the other end of the world, Australia, where you attempted, unsuccessfully, to study Medicine. You returned to South Africa and back to Israel for a while, before a two year stint in Calgary, Canada, before settling finally back into your home in Ramat Hasharon with, by then, your three children Uri, Nadav and Tanya. This stark narrative however, does not in any way convey the essence of what you really were, how you contributed to your family, your country and to the world.
In trying to describe your essence, I have great difficulty as you were multi-faceted.
I could describe your professional ability, your clear thinking analyses and solutions to the running of multiple businesses, and how you were the knowledge center of the family
I could describe your love of teaching which left you to develop a unique series of seminars and tools to enable non-business professionals to understand manage the core of their businesses
I could describe your drive to volunteer and give of yourself freely to educate school children and open their minds and awareness of their past, volunteering in the running of charitable organizations, such as Beit Issie Shapiro
I could describe how you devoted yourself to instilling values and developing the spirit of enquiry in your children, to enable them to independently follow new paths
I could describe your pride and joy in binding with your children and grand children and going to great lengths to develop tools for ongoing self development
I could describe your last great brave fight with a disease which has dogged you for two decades, in which you unflinchingly looked at the facts and then searched for solutions and then followed up, and received the latest in therapy, without avail. This however is but a small part of you and all cannot be told because of time constraints.
What was however your essence Gerald? What was the beacon that drew so many people to bond with you, to love you and at time to be at odds with you?
In my humble opinion what shone through your big blue eyes, now dimmed forever, was integrity, integrity to a degree which was not on the daily agenda. Where this originated cannot be fathomed. Unquestionably this was from your parents, and perhaps your lineage from the Vilna Gaon.
This uncompromising integrity in word and deed, could be uncomfortable to your work colleagues on many occasions, but you were unwavering. This was a quality which drew you respect from all.
Gerald my brother, knight of truth and respect, soft spoken but unwavering to the truth, you will be sorely missed by your loving wife and children and grandchildren, by your close family, by your many lifelong friends and family, and by me and Judy
יהי זכרך ברוך