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    I’m my own grandpa

    I think it was a music-hall song and its refrain was “I’m my own grandpa”. I don’t remember the words and I suspect they have another nuance altogether, but now that I am a grandfather I think the words were written for me.

    We all need a mentor: and when we are young our grandparents often perform that service for us. The Torah actually commands us in Parashat Ha’azinu, “Ask your father and he will tell you, your grandfather and he will declare to you” (Deut. 32:7).

    The problem is what happens when we become older and our grandparents are no longer alive. Nor in some cases are our parents still with us. Where do we go for a shoulder to cry on, a word of advice, a loving rebuke?

    Without a grandpa we become our own grandpa. Youngsters come to us in the same way that we once went to our elders. When we ourselves need wisdom and counsel we have to rely on ourselves.

    One answer is suggested by the rabbis’ interpretation of the Joseph story; when faced with decisions, “the image of his father appeared in his mind’s eye”, and he worked out what his father would have said or done. Another approach is to go to our Heavenly Parent for guidance. Prayer may reveal the answer; consulting the Divine Word in the Torah certainly will.

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