My First Love was written by Gitel and read by her at a reading evening on the topic of “love and lack thereof” by Deena at Tmol Shilshom.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
This is what Elizabeth Barrett Browning said to her husband Robert Browning.
This is what I often said to my late husband, Rabbi Feivel Rosensweig, who was the late grandfather of your hostess, Deena Levenstein.
Feivel was the first love of my life and the love of my youth, the father of my children and the grandfather of our grandchildren בע”ה.
When I first met Feivel, I was a fun-loving, athletic and very sociable girl with a job I loved where I was very respected. I fell in love with Feivel at first site and eventually chose to devote my life to him which meant giving up my familiar life in Toronto with my family and friends and leaving my job, to live in Kitchener as Rabbi and Rebbetzin there.
We loved each other very much and loved our time together.
We loved to sing together at the Shabbos table.
We loved to dance in the kitchen to the big bands like Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Arty Shaw.
We also loved to recite poetry together.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning continued on with her beautiful poetry to Robert which has always been an inspiration to me:
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! — and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
The love of my youth is gone and I miss him but I carry our memories in my heart and I see his legacy in our children, our grandchildren and our great grandchildren.
I know I am deeply blessed to have had such a gift.