Field of Dreams – Epilogue

Novel

Zayit and Kalonymous discuss the trouble brought about by the boy’s running away. Zayit observes that in fact, this action brought good changes into his life. Fisch and Berl are brought to the house that has been built for them on the Field of Dreams.

***

The levayah would have been much more sorrowful had the niftarim not lived such a joyous life. Berl and Fisch passed away in their sleep within minutes of each other. They were found, by Hershel, with peaceful expressions on their faces, as if they knew what was awaiting them and wanted to travel together.

Hershel immediately ran to find Motti, who sat by the brothers for a few moments, asked mechilah, then turned to the task of preparing their bodies for burial. Motti, Zayit and Hershel lovingly performed the taharah, and shrouded them carefully in freshly prepared tachrichim.

The family began to gather. Hershel had not yet married. Still, he filled his life with meaning. He was a devoted teacher of Torah, and he diligently cared for his adoptive parents, as he had for Berl and Fisch. He would in fact go on to find his zivug, and they would be zocheh to have a family, and live quietly and comfortably in the house Kalonymous had built in the field of dreams.

Dovid’l was by now a strapping young man. The years of starvation he had endured, which could have stunted his growth entirely, had been negated by the physical and emotional nourishment had had received, first from his brothers, then from Berl and Fisch, and then for many years from Breindl and Motti. He had married, and he and Yardena were now the parents of two boys and two girls. Dovid’l had wavered for a time in his commitment to the Torah to which he had been introduced so far along in childhood. But, with the help of his Rav, his wife and his family, he reclaimed his place in Klal Yisrael.

* * *

In a set of circumstances that were an odd parallel of his youth, it was not so easy to locate Kalonymous in order to inform him of the levayah. Now known by most as Harav Kalonymous Sperling, he was an esteemed Rosh Yeshivah, with many responsibilities and with numerous demands on his time. His advice was eagerly sought by many and, after years of shimush at the court of Reb Leib he had become an Av Beis Din. He had indeed found a way to combine heart and soul, carefully organizing his time to be in “both places at once.”

Reb Kalonymous had married Reb Leib’s granddaughter Elka, and they were by now the devoted parents of nine children. It was in Elka’s zechus that Kalonymous had been able to grow into the talmid chacham he now was.

Through it all, the loyalty he felt for his adoptive families — the Rothsteins and the two brothers who had nurtured him and saved his life — never wavered. Through the years, he returned home at regular intervals, and celebrated both his bar mitzvah and later his chasunah in his parents’ home.

As soon as the news reached him of the brothers’ passing, he made arrangements to travel there. The hesped he would deliver later rent the heavens.

Yehudah had traveled along with Rav Sperling that day; he had become the Rosh Yeshivah’s gabbai, and the two had grown close like the brothers they were.

Yehudah had married Elka’s sister. Among themselves they formed a happy family, taking an active part in their vast extended family as well. At any one time, several of his children lived with the bubby and zeidy, Breindl and Motti.

Papa and Mama Rothstein had lived out their years in dignity with Motti’s brother, Emanuel and his wife, Esther. Now that they were in the Olam Haemes, Esther began to devote herself once again to her hospital work.

As news trickled in from Europe, the shock and horror was almost too much to bear. Bruno had remained in touch with Dagfin Gassner and assisted him in his rescue work, catching the refugees and displaced persons as Dagfin practically tossed them himself onto boats and into Bruno’s waiting arms. Esther Rothstein’s home became a way station. Yet on this day they paused their efforts long enough to go to Motti’s home, as soon as the message reached them about Berl and Fisch.

Hershel eventually found Kalonymous by employing a relay of runners with the swiftness of Naftali who were able to track him down and give him the message.

Zayit, who had been observing the proceedings, walked the short distance between the two homes to the place where everyone had gathered. He recalled the day decades earlier when the young Motti had literally collapsed in his orchard, and all that had transpired from that day to this. He had no way of knowing that on the day he invited that boy into his house, his life would change forever. Gifting Kalonymous with his field of dreams had been a wonderful investment.

He took his place among the mourners, and together they held the bodies of the two brothers aloft above their heads, honoring them in death as they had rarely if ever been honored in life, and the levayah finally began.