‘Sunshine Must Make Shadows’

Although I think a lot, and almost always have what to say, comment, or add to anything I hear or read, I almost never write to magazines due to the fact that time doesn’t let me make it a priority, with a growing demanding clan, bli ayin hara.

However, the last line in Mordechai Schiller’s column on Murphy’s Law (Murphy Was a Shlimazel, July 3, 2019) gave me such a tease that I couldn’t not write.

Since I’ve already taken the time to write, I must thank Hamodia and tell Mr. Schiller that his column is one of my favorites! The mixture of good-quality quick wit, language dynamics, history, Jewish taam, and the often interlaced mussar that is ever so sincere hits me in all the right places (good ones, not like the “sticks and stones” in his signature line 😉).

Now (drumroll), the real reason I’m writing is a request to Mr. Schiller. He ended his article seamlessly with a quote from his father’s poetry: “Sunshine must make shadows.”

That quote was enough to give me a feeling that the rest of the poem had as much to offer as that one sweet very deep line. There was a mussar shiur in those four words! I want to get the rest of it!! And if he indeed wrote more poetry or any other works of literature, why not share it with the Hamodia readership? It seems like his words would have much to offer us!

From his words, one can tell what kind of a person Mr. Schiller Senior was. And from Mordechai Schiller’s words, one can tell what kind of person he is, and his father must get much, much nachas from him!

I am glad I finally got an opportunity to pay back a drop for years of entertainment, intellectual stimulation and inspiration that Mr. Schiller’s column has been providing me!

Zelda Schreiber, Givat Ze’ev, Israel

PS: I liked that line from the poem so much that I actually put it on a painting I made on my wall!!

Mordechai Schiller responds:

I’m at a loss for words. Your lavish praise is heady stuff. I can only attribute it to the inspiration of my father, z”l.

I hate to disappoint you but, sorry to say, I don’t have a copy of the poem. (And, sadly, I don’t remember it.) At least I don’t have it where I can get to it. I have cartons of my father’s poems and songs — mostly written to my mother — in storage in Ramat Beit Shemesh. And I don’t know how soon I’ll be back there.

Somebody seems to have taken the poem from the doctor’s office. I hope it’s still healing someone somewhere.

This is not the time or place for a tribute, but I’ll tell you that you are right about my father. Just one quick story: When my brother Rabbi Nota Schiller and I were sitting shivah at his home in Yerushalayim, a fellow came in and sat in the back. I thought my brother knew him. My brother thought I knew him.

Later, he came over and said, “You don’t know me. … But when I got married 20 years ago, my wife and I went to a hotel, where we met your parents. Your father gave me so much good advice and inspiration that I never forgot him. And when I saw the signs in the street for his levayah, I decided I must come to his shivah.”

It was a ray of sun in the shadows.