Hesped by David Marks

This is the text of the Hesped given by Sam Marks’ son David Marks at the cemetery.

The late Harry Secombe used to sing a song entitled “I walk with G-d”.

My father used to say” G-d walks with me”.

We are taught that during the month of Nissan we are not supposed to deliver a Hesped but I wish to try and give a flavour of what some may call “one of life’s  characters” – my father (mahareini kaporat mishkavo)

With this in mind It is perhaps appropriate that Dad passed away the week we commenced reading Pirkie Avot  which contains many ethical teachings of the way we should behave AND Dad lived up to these.

The 2nd Mishnah tells us that the world was founded on 3 things:-

Al Ha Torah  – on Torah

V’ al Havoda – on service of the Al’mighty (as mentioned by Rev Sklan in the shul)

V al `Gemilut Hasadim – on acts of lovingkindness.

The Rambam explains

Torah  – Knowledge of your faith

Ha Avoda – fulfilment of Mitzvot

Gemilut Hasadim – exemplary character traits

Dad had all these characteristics but it is perhaps the last one which sums him up the best.

The word Chesed goes beyond normal boundaries, beyond just being a charitable man.

Acts of Kindness are greater than charity since they can be done for both Rich and poor whilst charity can be given only to the poor

Charity can only be done with ones money whilst acts of kindness can be performed both personally and with ones money” (R Yonah)

The literal meaning of Gemilut Hasadim is “repaying the favour” . As Rabbi A C Feuer put it when someone does a favour for someone they have never met before he is repaying  the favours that Hashem has done for him.

Dad (together with my dear mother)  did not just give to “established causes”; he did not just give where he received Kovod (I have heard a number of examples where Rochelle and I did not know of help he had given – including one referred to by Harry Ellis in Shul earlier today.  Also on Shabbat Chol Hamoed I was told by someone my father had helped him to publish a Book but refused to have his name included in the credits).

He also thought about things that would put a smile on someone’s face.  Many years ago I took him  to see his elderly Aunt in an Old Age home in Manchester.  He took her a bunch of flowers but noted (as we walked through the Lounge) the disappointment on the faces of some of the other residents.

What did he do? – After he left his Aunt and were on the way home on the way home we  went to the nearly Garage & he bought all their stock of flowers.  He  went back to the home & distributed them to all the other old ladies sitting in the Lounge – It gave them – and him – a great deal of pleasure.

Mum and Dad had an open home.   In the book that Zara prepared for dad’s 95th. Birthday in November Ashley told the story of one Pesach when we came back to Shul in Bournemouth and were preparing the table for Kiddush.   There was a knock on the door and a guy with a beard appeared.  Without even checking who it was Dad shouted “come in & join us for Kiddush”.  The man stood there confused and asked “would you like to but the newspaper?”

Martin Luther King once said “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” .

Dad used to tell us that Hashem placed him on this earth with a job to do and when he wants to talk to him personally he will call him (– he also used to say that Hashem did not want him upstairs as he would cause to much trouble!!!).

Dad, After 95 years that day has come and you are now climbing the staircase for your chat at the Kisei HaKavod.

The example you have set to Rochelle and I as well as your Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren is an inspiration to us all and we all hope we can  live up to a small percentage of what you achieved

Leich V’shalom Yavo V’shalom.

Yehi zicharon l’baruch.