Ode To Ketzi- Eshet Chayil Simchat Torah Congregation Beth-El 5774


Karen Bears G-d’s Balm

The story of life really is the glory of love. Love grows high and deep at once, endless sky and bottomless root-making. Love fills every direction because love fulfills. Judge us G-d in how we love.

Slow to anger and immediately forgotten marks the tzadik (Pirkei Avot; 5:14). The adult voice reframes. This the Talmud says is piety; foreseeing the good first. Karen is our family’s delicate gardener of serene and perfect souls, reflecting the song Eishet Chayil, “she has no torpor, day and night she lives for her family.”

I am not one that excites with the phrase “there are no words to describe this love,” yet I am at loss with the ever-remolding nuances of Karen Knie-Cahana’s emotional profundity.

Her sister, Judy, shared their bedroom together growing up and Judy loved to chat away in the night revealing every incident of the day. Karen kept an attentive glow as long as her eyes could withstand. They shared their souls together in their dreams. Judy and Karen still visit G-d together through their intertwine.

There are things of course I will not report about our love. These are the privy of husband’s and wife’s in unending sweethearts’ cooings along with the birds. But under the chupah tonight, we repeated what we originally promised to each other while enveloped in our own chupah, beneath the stars of our heaven when we said to each other “od,” more, “leolam vaed,” beyond forever. This is where we live and start anew every day. Even now.

In this ode to Karen which reiterates that we vowed “od” twenty-nine and a half years ago to each other under the stars under the chupah, I admit that it has only been Hod. Karen’s dear dear grandmother used to call her “my little Ketzeleh” Karen cute from birth with her little lips pursed, dreamt the dreams of Grandma Katya. After the horrors of Kristal Nacht were sorted out in Vienna nearly one year later Katya and her husband, Rudy, joined Machal to sneak into Israel. They were on the boat, The Patria, when the Jewish underground torpedoed it to release the inmates into Haifa. International law prescribes that all passengers must perforce a light at the nearest harbor. The British defied this injunction and took the rest to their tiny territory deep in the Indian Ocean. Katya and Rudy were imprisoned six years on the island of Mauritius until May 14, 1948 when she and Rudy fulfilled the Jewish truth; galut is now over – straight to Eretz Yisrael. There they lived meant for forever. This unfiltered tzionut pierced Karen’s heart, it fills her fiercely.

I believe I know Karen’s credo: government must subjectify each citizen’s need. Social work must subjectify society’s responsibility to each family constellation. This is a creed: let all subjects live subjectively.

The most beautiful sentence I have ever found in Jewish liturgy is the phrase “Elokai ani shelcha vechalomotai shelach” (Birkat haKohanim) the congregant submits shyly with downcast eyes, “My G-d, I am Yours and my dreams are Yours.” Uniquely this is Karen and my reality nightly, even though today I sleep in Maimonides, Karen and I will dream the same unfolding scenarios. We will retell our Hollywood stories to each other the next day and will finish each others events. This I can tell you of Karen Knie-Cahana. We have od – more – and unending hod – glory, baruch Hashem.

Who do we bless in the last words of our day before we enter the trance of our dreams? Who do we bless in the dawning morn within the prance of the light we are greeting? Just after the Shema when we retrieve our re-cleansed soul, I find that I am hand in hand with Ketzi, morati.


One thought on “Ode To Ketzi- Eshet Chayil Simchat Torah Congregation Beth-El 5774

  1. Swaddled in her husband’s love…
    What an admirable woman Karen is
    The sweetness of their lives is an inspiration to all
    I pray their union last for countless years
    Y’all are loved …Rabbi and his wife

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