In the week following the end of my term at the Board I went in for what I expected to be a routine medical check –up. I was advised then that I needed further examination which eventually resulted in my having extensive invasive surgery even though I have not had any pain or other symptom.
I would like to thank all the numerous deputies and others who have been in touch to wish me well –too numerous to thank all individually but your communications are greatly appreciated- and to reassure everyone that I am well on the road to recovery.
Naturally my first serious encounter with medical intervention rather late in life has given me cause for thought but one little anecdote particularly struck home. My Rabbi asked me my Hebrew name to say a prayer. Normally of course we are known in Judaism as in the secular world by the name we inherit from our fathers. When being honoured called up for the law or mentioned in a significant way that is the one we are always required to give. For some reason when being prayed for we go under our mother’s name.
In Judaism a change of name is a change of identity or at least of role. From being invulnerable one is reminded of one’s susceptibility to forces outside ones control and the need to be grateful for all the mercies from which we benefit– a message our rabbis wish to emphasise at the beginning of each year. A previous President of the Board Sir Moses Montefiore had as his motto “Think and thank”. It is an excellent thought to hang on to.