What sits on my bookshelf

I never met my paternal grandfather. I do share his name, Solomon (which is my middle name in English, Zorach in Hebrew). Then about 8 years ago my father brought me a collection of ‘Jewish books’ that were owned by my grandfather.

The collection includes:
A machzorim set printed in Austria in 1889
A linear Chumash printed in 1905A set of Mikros Gedolos from 1889
A siddur (Hebrew-English) printed in Austria in 1857
And a set of Graetz’s History of the Jews printed in 1895 (which if you know anything about Rav Hirsch, he had colorful history with the author)

I usually use the machzorim for at least on davening during any given Yom Tov.
Once in a while I’ll open the siddur and daven from it. When I do use the siddur or the machzorim I admit, I feel some kind of connecting to something. Maybe it’s just because they have been in my family for a long period of time. Maybe it’s because I am looking for some connection on any level.

It does blow my mind that because these seforim haven’t been opened or used in the longest time. I’m the first Torah observant person on either side of my family in at least three generations.

On April 15 of this year my son came home with his first Chumash and the homework that came along with it. After I listened to him say and translate the first pasuk in Breishis I opened up to the same pasuk in my grandfather’s Mikros Gedolos and let my son read from it. It was an incredible feeling to listen to him read in a sefer that was 118 years old.

I am proud and thankful to have these seforim in my collection and it is a constant reminder that Limud HaTorah spans the generations.

My thanks to A Simple Jew who suggested I write about this topic.

The photo in this post is of several of the seforim mentioned above

12 thoughts on “What sits on my bookshelf

  1. Rafi G

    It is a an emotional moment using such an old siddur to daven from. I have in the past and it really does make you feel connected to previous generations. You realize you are not out their on your own. You have zchus avos, you have history and you have a connection greater than the present.

    un-uberdox – if you do not care, you do not have to read. Other people get inspiration from neil’s posts.

  2. shaya g

    Very cool,

    When my Opa died, there was a scramble and they couldn’t find his talis to bury him in. so later, when we were scavenging through the house (goldmeier’s scavenge, everyone else lovingly looks at everything and remembers….lol) we found his talis. he put on talis and tefillin everyday, so why we couldn’t find it was a mystery. anyway, since he died, when I was about 14/15, I have worn his talis with my tefillin. I felt that same kesher. Unfortunately, the beged now has holes in it as it is so worn out, that for my sons Bar-mitzvah, I have to get a new talis. I guess it’s a sign from my Opa that it’s time to move on.

  3. Neil Harris

    Thanks for the comments and the brotherly banter.

    Re: Getting Tagged-I’ll think about it, I’m not a big fan of tags. I did one last summer but usually turn them down. Under consideration!

  4. Miriam

    Shaya g,

    Nice to hear the “opa” (and Oma). We use that too for our grandparents, although I never thought i’d have an Opa and Oma in my family lol


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