Kodesh

By Robert

When my mother died in 1994, we sat Shiva for 6 days. At some point Owen, 5 years old, said to Joel’s mother on the phone, “Nanny died and we have been having a party ever since.”

This past weekend we were overwhelmed, in the best sort of way, by a flood of Kirby’s friends from all her walks of life. Burgundy Farm Country Day School first through third grade; CHDS, fourth through eighth grade; School Without Walls (SWW), high school; Smith, Engineering, Morrow House, Hillel, signing table; PowerCon; New York City; Capitol Hill; Temple Micah; and blood relatives. (With overlaps: Smith/NYC, CHDS/Capitol Hill, Temple Micah/Capitol Hill etc. etc.

Our neighbors opened their houses and hosted Kirby’s visitors, we filled beds on A Street and 9th Street. P, B and J played guitars and harp all day Saturday, filling the house with music. We ate, we drank, we washed dishes and cleaned up then started all over again. People came to Kirby’s bedside as individuals and in groups, singing to her, reading poetry to her, telling stories, reminiscing, showing her pictures, praying for her, crying, and sometimes just holding her hand as she appeared to sleep. We shared Shabbat dinner and Havdalah (end of Sabbath) services together, surrounding Kirby and embracing each other as we recited the prayers and performed the rituals.

As the Rabbi was leaving I shared my observation and concern that it was like an awake wake. Was this the right thing to be doing? He replied:

“The two words are
“Kodesh and chol
“This is the Havdalah prayer—we separate kodesh (holy) from chol (ordinary).
“The Hebrew word chol, besides meaning ordinary\secular\profane—also means sand. Sand is what flows right through your fingers. No grain of sand sticks to any other. This is chol—a totally unconnected world.
“Kodesh is the opposite—Kodesh is cleaving together—adhering—community. This is why the Hebrew word for marriage is Kiddushin—the married couple is bound together in the most unique way. Kodesh\holiness is in community.”

Kirby recently described herself as a networker, a connector, someone who brings others together. She has brought us all together in a community of holiness.

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19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Olya
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 19:40:25

    Amen…

    Reply

  2. Elana
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 20:17:11

    Thank you very much for this post. It is true that Kirby has always been a connector. I look forward to seeing you all next weekend.

    Reply

  3. Ellen Hirzy
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 20:22:10

    Robert,
    Amen, again. Thank you for writing about this. You are doing more than the right thing, and bringing Kirby peace, calm, love, and gratitude in the process. You’re all in our hearts and thoughts.
    Ellen and Bill

    Reply

  4. Milton, Judy, Katie and Samantha
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 22:25:44

    Amen! What a steady stream of love, music, family, friends and support that Kirby has by her side.

    Reply

    • judith
      Jan 28, 2012 @ 15:39:24

      milton, you have indeed mastered crane-folding. the architecture cranes arrived and may even have been strung. loved seeing flashing notes…thanks j

      Reply

  5. Ellen Passel
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 23:55:48

    Many of us who weren’t there, were with you all in spirit. None of you is far from our minds and our hearts. It sounds like a wonderful weekend. So glad she’s home. I wil try to come soon. Have been running a temp but will cal when it’s gone for at least 24. So glad that you are al home together. Much much love, Ellen, Jeff, & Jake

    Reply

  6. Nanette
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 02:21:12

    You couldn’t have done it better….

    Reply

  7. Olya
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 14:09:55

    it was wonderful to see Kirby surrounded by so much love and see all the lives she’s touched…When I visited her in the hospital, I told her I would pray for her every day, and I have…one of my prayers is Debbie Friedman’s version of the Misheberach

    May the Source of strength
    Who blessed the ones before us
    Help us find the courage
    To make our lives a blessing,
    And let us say: Amen.

    I was thinking today, as often do when I say that prayer, that Kirby has already found that courage, and her life is such blessing to so many of us. At such a young age, she’s already a role model and an inspiration. Her courage is helping me find mine, every day.

    Reply

  8. reya mellicker
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 17:21:24

    This is a beautiful, powerful post. They all are, actually.

    On Saturday while walking around, I snapped a picture of two men with guitar cases on their backs, headed east on A street, in your direction. After reading this post, I realize they’re probably two of the people you wrote about. Please email if you would like a copy of that picture.

    Like so many, I am holding your family in my heart. Shalom.

    Reply

  9. Kerry
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 18:38:32

    How beautiful. This time is a gift to Kirby, but also to all the rest of you as well. Peace to you.

    Reply

  10. judi van gorder
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 19:02:33

    I know you had a wonderful visit with Iilona. What a beautiful story. Everyone joining together. Wish we could come. Love and prayers.

    Reply

  11. Andi
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 01:57:57

    How wonderful and important for Kirby to be able to know that she touches so many lives for the better. Sending love and prayers.

    Reply

  12. Ann Dye
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 12:44:37

    My love to Kirby and Owen and your entire wonderful family. My prayers are with you.

    Reply

  13. Regina
    Jan 26, 2012 @ 17:29:57

    Wearing a Kirbead piece of jewelry everyday!

    Reply

  14. Erin
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 03:28:12

    Kirby!!

    I love you and I am coming again to see you- Jackie is coming too. I miss you and think of you everyday. Like Regina said, I always have some piece of jewelry on to absorb and send to you all my love, prayers, and hope. See you all again soon…

    Love,
    Erin

    Reply

  15. Yael
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 03:39:50

    I have also been wearing Kirbead jewelry all week. Kirby, it seems you bring us together not just in holiness but also in excellent fashion!

    It was such a privilege to share last weekend with the four of you and experience firsthand all the love and strength and power of Kirby’s holy community.

    So much love,
    Yael

    Reply

  16. Stacy Braverman
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 16:18:54

    I knew Kirby through Smith Hillel and am now a member of Temple Micah (and enjoyed seeing her there last fall). Sending wishes to Kirby and everyone who loves her for peace, no pain, and a gentle transition to whatever comes next.

    Reply

  17. Roberta Meizlik
    Jan 27, 2012 @ 19:36:42

    Dear Kirby,
    I think you have more friends than anyone I know. That shows how special and loved you are. You are in my thoughts all the time. I too am praying for a miracle for you. I hope you try visualizing white cells knocking away the bad cancer cells. Some people say that it worked for them. I did it when I was going through treatment. I can’t say what helped most. Love, Cousin Roberta
    PS: Expect to receive something in the mail from me.

    Reply

  18. eric soller
    Jan 29, 2012 @ 23:06:29

    my love and support go out to you. reading about kirby’s adventures on this blog remind me of what a lovely, strong, and warm family you are.

    Reply

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