Biz hundert un tsvantzik
I dedicate this essay to Louis Haskel Busch, my paternal grandfather, whom I only came to know many years after his death in 1955 when I was but two years old.
For all who might enjoy a close look at the thoughts and interests of a self-educated, turn of the twentieth-century Renaissance Man, my Grandpa Louis left three copies of a composite autobiographical, intellectual compendium, bound in a three-ring, zippered black leather carrying case, one for each of his three children: my father, Albert Isle Busch, my Uncle Hirsh Meyer Busch and my Aunt Hynda Sonya Busch (Burack) on the promise they would, in turn, pass it along from generation to generation to their children at the right time.
After reviewing Grandpa Louis' documents in preparation for this essay, it occurred to me that he would have rejoiced in the Mosaic (of or relating to Moses) anniversary of his father's family history in America for which this October 24th, 2014 will be its 120th anniversary.
Of special interest to Jewish history, "Biz hundert un tsvantzik" is a Yiddish expression which translates literally as "until one hundred-twenty or may you live until one hundred twenty" a reference to Moses' age at the time of his death, (Devarim-Parshat Vezos Habracha).Very appropriately, The Knesset, the national legislature of the State of Israel, in recognition of Mose's central role as our nation's lawgiver, has the same number of seats within its assembly.
This theme began to take shape while looking closely at the naturalization certificate that “the Clerk of the Cuyuhoga County, Ohio Court of Common Pleas" issued "in the City of Cleveland ... this 14 (sic) day of January A.D. 1915 to Louis H. Busch" certifying that his records show that "one Herman Haskel Busch, native of Russia, was naturalized in this Court on October 27, 1894." I began doing the math in my head.
'Hmm, 1894-1900, that's 6, plus the 100 of twentieth century. Okay that's 106. Hold on. Wait ... plus the 14 from this century'=Biz hundert un-tsvanzik. How fortuitous this discovery was which, had I made it any time after October 27, 2014, would have diminished the emotive effect of the occasion.
Husband of Rose Lessman (Busch), married in Chicago. IL by Rabbi H.M. Rosenblum of 1251 N. Oakley (an address that no longer exists) on October 29,1916 until her death in 1949, my grandfather spoke these words about his beloved at her graveside.
"She added to the sum of human joy, and, if everyone to whom she did some kind service, would bring a blossom to her grave, he would now be sleeping beneath a mountain of flowers."
My father with whom I spoke extensively in preparation for my second book Between 10 and 5 With Dad, Keeping The Fifth Commandment characterized his mother similarly though he had never been one to speak of her much at all nor, as I recall, of his father, but the two of them shared a love for Rose Lessman Busch in whom they found everything that was holy and good.
Silence is often the most profound expression of love.
"Know before Whom thou standest," the Jews have cautioned for centuries. Neither Grandpa Louis nor my father were ritually religious men, but they did, I think, have a keen sense of the "kadosh"-that which is a manifestation of the Divine Presence.