Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Beauty Remains...

Although Henri Matisse was nearly 28 years younger than Auguste Renoir, the two great artists were dear friends and frequent companions. When Renoir was confined to his home during the last decade of his life, Matisse visited him daily. Renoir, almost paralyzed by arthritis, continued to paint in spite of his infirmities. One day as Matisse watched the elder painter working in his studio, fighting torturous pain with each brush stroke, he blurted out: "Auguste, why do you continue to paint when you are in such agony?" Renoir answered simply: "The beauty remains; the pain passes."

I'd like to think of my father that way. Yes, he's gone, leaving behind a great void in the lives of many, namely his wife, his children, their spouses, and grandchildren.

But this man left us with a legacy: of Yiddishkeit, education, personal philosophies, wonderful memories, strength and stamina, to name but a few. Most of all, he left this world with a good -- a WONDERFUL -- name, one of the most important things a Jew can leave behind.

That is his gift. That is the beauty that remains...


rabbi neil fleischmann said...

Wow. Ther is great beauty in the passage you cited and the words you followed it up with Pearl.

The beauty remains in/through you; the legacy of kindness, the good name which you took on/inherited and actively perpetuate.

There's a concept that people who have passed live on through those they leave behind.

There is also a concept that there is pain for those left here, not for the soul in Heaven.

There is also a concept that said soul rises up based on actions of those below. This is part of the idea of yahrtzeits. I is also the meaning behind the book of the living AND OF the dead being open on Rosh HaShana. Those who have moved on are judged for the ripples of the actions of their lives.

Sigh. The beauty will remain, and so will your pain. I bless you that the beauty outweighs the pain in your heart, just as it does in the world...

torontopearl said...

Thanks, Neil, for your inspiring and generous comment.

I read this Matisse/Renoir story years ago in a Reader's Digest magazine and was moved by it then. I found it again on the Internet and was equally moved, and found it fit in well with what I had to say.

Again, thanks for your sensitive insight.

Robin said...

Pearl, you are a great daughter. Your dad sounds like he was a wonderful man. I hope my kids are as proud of me one day.