The Midrash relates that in the time of the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs, a coin was minted in honor of Abraham and Sarah. Engraved on one side of the coin were two elderly figures - a man and a woman. On the other side were the images of a young boy and girl.
The message, at least in part, is to remind us that one "spends" time, just as one "spends" money. We invest it, acquire precious things with it, or dissipate it wastefully. One can "spend" time youthfully, or reveal themselves to be chained to anciet habits.
We extend our gladhearted birthday wishes to a woman, rich in kindness, affluent n youthfullness, shrewd in her expenditure of time in things worthwhile and sacred.
To Harriet Dorf, Tzvia, upon her 60th birthday, (hebrew birthdate), our warmest blessings for another 60 years of good health and good fortune. May you invest the currency of your next 60 years no less wisely than the first, and may they bring you manifold times the prosperity.
With deep affection and esteem,
Rabbi Tzini Twerksi
Great controversy has erupted in the world of Talmudic scholars. This is due to an aged Talmudic rule which states "Just as wine improves with age so too do quality people improve with age". The study hall erupted in confusion when it came to our attention that Harriet Dorf was reaching her sixtieth year and we are to expect improvement. Cries were heard throughout the study hall " How? What" Can it be? All of the elders were convened to deal with this difficulty.One suggested perhaps her acts of kindness could improve? He was shouted down saying " cannot be! there is nothing she could possibly do. another suggested her leadership role." No! what can she add to her already huge list of institutions she plays a role in? What about her dedication to her husband and children ?What they screamed at him She stands as a role model to anyone who knows her as a paradigm of a mother ?Hours and hours passed and none of the talmudic elders or sages could suggest a conclusion to this enoumous issue. Finnaly a fast day was decreed. Hundreds of students and teachers gathered in recitation of Psalms in the great study hall. Just as the atmosphere reached it's climax. The cheif sage called together the elders and stated that in the merit of the fasting and the prayers it was revealed to him from heaven.
The elders imerged and adressed the entire semblage. " we the eldres of all talmudic scholars have concluded with the help of heaven that it is true ,every quality person improves with age. If you will ask what can Harriett possibly improve ? We the elders conclude "Jerry"! Happy Birthday May Hashem grant you years of health, nachas, and all good things.
Over the years of interacting with Harriet, we have often engaged in humorous exchanges and good natured cuts. As tempting as it is at this time to come up with something clever on the occasion of Harriet's sixtieth birthday, I really feel that I want to be serious (as difficult as that may be).
Pirkey Avot, The Ethics of the Fathers, in ascribing attributes to milestone ages, says, "At sixty [one attains] old age." This comment seems to state the obvious. Around sixty, in olden times as well as today, one enters the state of 'senior-hood' (in spite of AARP's definitions). So, Yehudah Ben Tema, the maker of this comment, must have meant something deeper. The Tiferet Yisrael (Rabbi Yisrael Lipschutz 1782-1860) understands this comment to mean that at sixty years of age, "a person has attained the ripeness of intellectual maturity."
In my opinion, Harriet attained to this status many years ago. I have always marveled at her ability to seek out resources and her capacity to think through situations. In our tete-a-tetes, she always impressed me with a very special quality -- the ability to have goals and aspirations for her family and yet, be able to give them the room and space to make their own decisions and come to their own conclusions. This is a quality which one often attains only in later years, as evidenced by the famous adage of the Pennsylvania Dutch: "We get too soon old and too late smart."
Harriet, Eveline joins me in extending best wishes to you at this time in your life. We have enjoyed our relationship over the years and look forward to its continuation. We pray that the Holy One may make this milestone, the half-way mark on the road to one hundred and twenty.