Poetry For a Yahrzeit

This Shabbos will mark the first yahrzeit of an extraordinary shaper and builder of the Los Angeles Torah community, Rebbetzin Dr. Miriam Huttler. After a childhood in Beis Zhvil of Meah Shearim, she braved U-boats to make the trip to the US with her mother, to join her father who was one of the first major chassidishe personalities in Los Angeles. There were no options back then other than public school and Talmud Torah; despite (or because of) that, she went on to leadership positions at the side of her husband, ybl”c Rabbi Reuven Huttler as Rebbetzin of a shul, founder of a day school for immigrant children, guide of a strong NCSY chapter, and as a bulldog for singles, including innovative ways to get them together decades before those methods were used elsewhere. Along the way, she picked up advanced degrees in psychology from USC and UCLA. Anyone who knew her (and the way she raised children fiercely loyal to Toras Hashem) recognized that her neshamah had never really left Beis Zhvil.

Her son, Rabbi Yossi Huttler, has become a bit of the house poet at Cross-Currents. Publishing his poems, presented here to honor his mother z”l, is a far better tribute than anything I could write.


in the shul
in the chapel
open-air graveside
light catches
glint of stubble on cheek
hint of what was
and what to come
a life passed
and those meant to mourn it
a day, seven, thirty, eleven months, a year
yizkors and yahrzeits
memories, memorials
wistful recollections
like the moon in the morning sky
to fade but not gone
clothes razored torn
hearts, minds too
to be mended
however imperfectly

Shoes Aveilus

nothing new this year
of mourning
that I can don
except that which you can no more tread
and which is all I need
from You who are machin mitzadei gaver
deciding when and where
footsteps will lead
and end

Eleventh Month Mark

after that last kaddish
an ellipsis . . .
how can I continue
to exalt and sanctify His name
when what will they think
I think of you

Yizkor (yahrzeit candle)

I sense you
returned to me
for a day
rekindling feeling
illuminating memories
of a lifetime

hours pass
melted wax mixes
with congealed tears
even as I revel
in your ethereal presence
I want to hold
onto you
like flame clinging to wick
all the while
watching the candle dwindle
as you recede
from my mind’s eye

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2 Responses

  1. Raymond says:

    The two most irreplaceable people in my life, namely my parents, were friends of the Hutlers and members of Etz Jacob for several decades. It was there that I experienced the spiritual high of my Bar Mitzvah, so many decades ago.

  2. Shelly says:

    The memories of loved ones lost fade over time but the effects on this world of the deeds of those loved ones while they were here remain as eternally as the sleep they now sleep. The poet has honored the deeds and the life of his mother.

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