Didi (Yedidyah) Menussi, of blessed memory

By Yonatan Gordon

Written for the Gal Einai (RabbiGinsburgh.com) Weekly Newsletter:

Yesterday I took a trip up to Ramat Gan to pay a shivah call to friend, and fellow Gal Einai team member, Nir Menussi after the passing of his father Didi (Yedidyah) Menussi at the age of 85.

While the name of his father may not be familiar to those living outside the land of Israel, others of you are probably aware of this well-known personality of Israeli culture. Didi was a lyricist, journalist, satirist, and popular joke-teller, who became a household name for his weekly satirical column in Yedi’ot Aharonot, books, songs, television appearances and other public activities.

Over the years, Didi made many voyages, travelling to every corner of the world, and visiting every location that he considered exotic or out of the ordinary (to give you some idea, this included travelling from one end to the next of both Africa and India in a jeep). In many of these places, he was the first Jew to have been there and to be seen by tribes and natives.

Here’s one small story from his travels:

During his travels on a small island in the Caribbean, as he walked through a cemetery there, he came upon a tombstone with Hebrew lettering on the top which quoted the first four words from a verse in the Purim Megillah: “And Mordechai left the king’s presence” (וּמָרְדֳּכַי יָצָא מִלִּפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ). On the bottom of the tombstone was a skull and cross-bones. Although this is not definitive proof, it is quite possible that this person was a Jewish pirate in the Caribbean.

When the Rav first recounted the story to me on Wednesday (he heard Tuesday at shivah, I heard it from Nir Thursday), he said that the story relates exactly to the “holy mutiny” mentioned in this week’s article “Careful! Up to Mischief.” Even a person who is a pirate his entire life, can pass away from this world like the righteous Mordechai.

This is a very important lesson to keep in mind, and all this was told during the time of year when these ideas are most revealed–the six weeks of shovavim as discussed in the article.

The Dream

The second story, which I first heard from the Rav, then again from Nir directly, is of the most remarkable nature.

Didi passed away sometime between Thursday night and Friday morning on the 17th of Tevet, December 20th. As he wanted to be buried in his childhood kibbutz in the north, it was decided to hold the funeral on Sunday, 19th of Tevet, in the afternoon.

On the Saturday night preceding the funeral, Nir was about to start writing the eulogy for the next day, when his sister reminded him of a very unique dream that their father had about a year prior, in which he said that he had a long conversation with God (Elokim). Nir had forgotten about it until then. Upon being reminded of the event, he searched his computer to see if he had written up anything about it. Sure enough, a file “chalom abba,” father’s dream, came up.

The file recounted, that after waking from an afternoon nap, Didi told his family about this long conversation that he just had with God. He didn’t see Him, he said, he had only heard Him. He asked many questions, and God answered. The two main lessons that Didi took from the dream are as follows:

1. Every little detail of creation, even every hair of a beard (the example he used), is interconnected.

2. There is good and evil in the world, and one should choose good and reject evil.

He realized from the dream, that many of the things that he had called good, were not so.

Nir looked up the date when the dream had occurred and couldn’t believe his eyes: it was the afternoon of 19 Tevet, 5773 — exactly the date and time that he was to be buried a year later!

Didi’s most well known song is called mi she-chalam,”he who dreamed.” Given the above story, it is very appropriate indeed that he should be known for speaking about dreams.

Nir put this story in his eulogy, and he wished his father that he should now continue the conversation where it left off a year prior.

Photo by: צילום: מוטי קמחי


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