On the seventh night of Chanukah, Moses gave to me, the poems of Shel Silverstein.
When I was younger, I gravitated towards Shel Silverstein’s poems because of the silly pictures and the silly nature of the poems themselves. In my head, I never imagined that he could be Jewish. I was the only Jewish kid in my class, and my Hebrew School class wasn’t that big. I figured that Jewish people were few and far between.
When my sister graduated Hebrew School in seventh grade, they put on a production of The Giving Tree. I remembered reading this story many times. A boy befriends a tree and the tree cares for the boy, expecting nothing in return. Things for me clicked then. That was one of the lessons I had been taught in Hebrew School: give back to people and expect nothing in return. Be selfless. This man who wrote silly poems and drew silly pictures was also re-enforcing one of the biggest lessons from Hebrew School that I took to heart! I had found another Jewish person to look up to.
Thank you, Shel. You filled my head with missing pieces, sidewalks that end, and a tree that gives. Most of all, you made this lonely girl realize that she is not alone in the world.