You have been very kind, sending me messages of condolence after the death of my brother David. I thought I would share with you a few words I sent to India, to be read at his funeral.
We send love to David’s wife, Theresa and to all who loved David. We are David’s siblings Lynn, Anne, and Ted Greenhough; Lynn’s husband Aaron Devor and Ted’s wife, Michelle. We have been receiving many messages of love and support – and shock – at the news of David dying so precipitously.
Our beloved mother, Mary Greenhough died just this summer on the 29th of July. We are grateful that David could come and be with her while she was still able to visit and grateful he was still able to travel to Victoria. In her last two weeks, Mum kept asking to “go home.” We kept telling her that home was awaiting her, and that she would soon be with her beloved family members. And now David has joined her, our father Harry and our sister Ray. May they all now be comforted with peace.
This week in our annual cycle of Torah readings, we are nearing the very end of Deuteronomy. Vayelech, a Hebrew word that means “and then he went out,” is the very shortest reading in all of the Books of Torah, only thirty verses long. Moses tells the people of Israel, “I am now a hundred and twenty years old, and I can no longer go forth.”
Unlike Moses, David wasn’t 120, but he still could go no further. His verses were too short. We will miss him dearly.
With Theresa, David spent these years in India striving to do his best to for the young children and young women who learned with them. Along the way David learned to love teaching, and he loved to tell us about the progress everyone was making. David was a builder. He had learned carpentry skills in his younger days and brought his attention and experience with him when he and Theresa decided to build in Bangelore. He oversaw the building of their home and school, and he helped build up all that they did together.
There is a teaching from our prophet Isaiah, “When all of your children are taught of God, great will be the peace of your children.” A teaching from Talmud, the Oral Torah, notes the similarity of the words banayikh (your children) and bonayikh (your builders). Just as all our children/builders will be students of God, great, then, shall be the peace of your children/builders. Isaiah is clearly stating that those who study God’s Word, God’s Torah, are builders of peace. So too, building was David’s work. He was a builder and he was a person who built up the children around him. In his memory, may they all be builders of peace.
We will miss David’s visits, and are sad that he suffered in his last days. And we know his memory will live on in the work of his many students. We offer consolation and comfort to Theresa, and we are very grateful to her for all the loving care she has given David over their years together. May the Holy One comfort you among the rest of the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.