Thursday, November 10, 2022

Shlomo Carlebach the Legend Z"L


by his daughter, Dari 

People all over the world talk about my father, about his songs and Torah and his legacy. And I appreciate all these. But the real truth is that when I think about him, I think about him as he was, as a person. 

He had a child like quality about him. When he watched TV, he was mesmerized like he was 5. It took him 2 hours to tell a joke, just because the first 1 hour and 55 minutes, he was laughing so hard about the punchline, he had to restart it 89 times. He had a line for everything. He was particularly talented at turning a very clean room into a tornado in under 4 minutes, with all his things, mainly searching thru his papers, endless little pieces of papers that people wrote their numbers down for him, ( he pre-dated cell phones).

His suitcases were filled 80% with his sefariim, 17 % with vitamins, protein bars and interesting health gadgets that some healing person had gifted him with, and 3 % personal items like clothes or shoes, tefillin and tallis. More times than I can count,  He got off a plane from somewhere hot into a snow blizzard in the dead of winter and arrived at our house in Toronto with his sandals and no socks because socks and closed shoes probably didn't make the cut in comparison to the one more sefer that could fit in. 

He loved mango juice and seltzer and ate ice cream with a toothpick so it would last longer.
He loved burnt food because his mother was a horrible cook and burnt everything so if I wanted to really make him happy, I'd make him burnt eggs and burnt toast and his whole face would light up as he ate it.

He loved pools and Jacuzzis and he was famous for walking thru the hotel to get to the pool area in his buttoned up raincoat and no shoes, looking like a flasher, because a bathrobe didn't make the cut either and he only wore white button shirts and black pants and later vests. He hated ties.
He could sit on the beach with us fully clothed and get more tanned in 5 minutes than I did in 2 hours.

His laugh sounds like a wheezy engine dying, taking its last breath and it was Infectious and impossible not to laugh when he laughed even if it wasn't funny.

He walked slower than a sloth and it could take endless amount of time to get anywhere, partly because of his pace, and partly because he had to stop and hug and greet every person we passed. If we went to a restaurant,  he wouldn't sit down at our table until he said hello to every person at every table.

He was a master at ping pong and always won. He was generous to a fault and could easily give away hundreds, (or thousands of dollars, if he had been paid in cash) or his coat off his back or the kippah off his head without blinking. I remember this one time, we ordered in food for dinner. My father ordered the pickled pike ( he loved herring, lox and any fish that was pickled), and hadn't eaten all day.  We sat down to eat, and I quickly went to get salt from the kitchen and when I came back to the table, the dog was walking away with the entire fish in her mouth. My father just looked at me as if it was the most normal and obvious thing to give the dog his entire dinner and said " Nebach, she was so hungry."

He loved the aisle seat on the airplane and the peanuts that came with the drink and the first thing he did when he sat down in his seat was take off his shoes and put all the random things from his pants and vest pockets into the front pocket of the airplane seat in front of him.

He was always tired as sin and could fall asleep sitting, standing, or anything in between. Cars made him nervous and he held onto the handle at the top of the car window alot and said "oy oy oy oy" alot if the driver went too fast.

The first thing he said when he opened up his eyes in the morning  was "Put on water for coffee". And he wasn't able to stay mad for more than 2 minutes. The 3 times he yelled at me in my whole life, after 30 seconds,  he laughed and said " OK sweetest, let's make peace between me and you".

His favorite color was blue, and he had a chassidic rabbi to pray to for literally every possible situation.  When we often arrived at the airport an hour or more late for a flight, we would just start praying, u could see him standing in front of the check- in clerk, whispering ויקרא  הליגה רבי לוי יצחק בן שורה סאשא אניני" and more than half the time, some miracle would happen and we would get on the flight.

When I wasn't feeling well, he would say " oh sweetest,  give me half your pain" And when I asked him a question, he would say, give me a kiss and then I'll tell u everything ".He rarely said No.

If I liked a boy, and he didn't think he was good enough for me, he would say " really, darling, he doesn't reach your toenails"

He called me everyday no matter where he was in the world. When he called or answered the phone, he rarely said "This is Shlomo." Usually he would say " This is the Pope" or " Hi, it's Brother Fritz". When he hung up with me,  he always said "Good Shabbas" after saying I love you most, most, most.
He remembered every name of every person he ever met and even if only 2 people showed up at his concert, he would perform because he believed that u never knew who was the soul who needed uplifting at that moment.

He made regular rounds to the homeless hub under the Riverside Park by 79th st. He would walk thru there, hugging and kissing each person  and he knew all their names and all their stories. When he met someone new anywhere in the world,  his signature move after giving them a hug was giving out his card and saying, " Call me for no reason"

He read Danielle Steele in German. And he religiously wore Azzaro perfume and put Fa bubbles in his bath.
These are the things I think of and miss. His laugh, his smell, his walk, his soft but slightly scratchy from his beard kisses on my forehead. His wide warm hands, when he held mine.
I will always be grateful to be his daughter.


Anonymous said...

Great. Thanks so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Great, I went to his Kever and I was able to listen to uncle Shlomo de composing another song from his heart.

Anonymous said...

why was this posted, how is this a news article?

Dusiznies said...

First of all, I post what the hell I want, second of all this is news as it was his yurzeit, תנצב"ה
and finally, this is not a "news site" this is a blog, for news go the lying CNN or The New York Slimes

Anonymous said...

Shlomo Z'L had different sides to him from "Lakewood yeshivish" to what we would call today "open orthodox" to even "renewal judaism". He was something of a lost soul and his following reflected that. No doubt the holocaust and his turbulent adolescence escaping Europe, traveling from place to place, effected his identity during his formative years. Indeed his whole life he wandered...may his memory be for a blessing. "vani bchasdicha batatchti yagel libi bshuatecha"!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

T.M.I. aka (Too much information)
Danielle Steele, cologne. watching T.V.
Do we really need to know this -
R’Shlomo was a profound person
Let him Rest In Peace

Gerrer Shir Haamalos said...

Dear Editor:

Anonymous Anonymous said...
why was this posted, how is this a news article?

I noticed a bit of anger in your response.
The writer obviously didn't know when Reb Shlomo's Yahrzeit was!

Dusiznies said...

You are obviously being דן לכף זכות
but because I'm unfortunately on social media and see all posts there, I recognized her comment from other media where she asked the same question והמבין יבון