A Tribute to Joseph M. Sutton, A”H by His Grandchildren

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Time 

The dictionary would tell you, that time is the indefinite continued progress of existence, events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole. 

Grandpa Joe knew the true value and essence of time. 

He perfected it. 

He shared his treasure of the past, so we can learn for the future.  

He gave of his love with his presence, so we can give it, too. 

He gifted his time, and how we wish he could have been gifted more. 

His love – no one could do it better. 

Early morning, late at night – the clock didn’t matter. Grandpa was there – for each and every one of us. Time stood still when you were with Grandpa. His depth of knowledge, humor, and wit superseded the need or want to be anywhere else. 

 

Communication 

He had a gift of communication.  

We waited on his every word; we prized each smile. 

We would treasure his thumbs up and would laugh hysterically from his humor. 

Grandpa communicated in many ways beyond words. He communicated by showing interest in others. 

Grandpa was the patriarch. The ultimate energy in the room. 

The warmth of his hugs, even when he would say he’s freezing, his smile even when things were tough. His timeless love always shining on through. 

He also gave others their time. 

Time to speak, time to share their story, time to grieve, and time to share their memories. 

Everyone has time, but Grandpa gave of his time unconditionally and what looked like would be forever. 

Because forever and love aren’t bound by time. 

They are timeless. 

Time is the single greatest influence on our lives. 

There is no substitute. 

 

Torah 

Then there is eternity “infinite or unending time,” which is the Torah. 

Grandpa was brilliant. He lived by his words. He lived for his family, he lived by the Torah. 

With time, there is the power of consistency. 

Consistency takes work. It requires tenacity and perseverance. 

 

Below is the speech Grandpa Joe gave over at the arayat of his mother, Sarah Antebi Sutton, a”h.   

Three weeks ago, we read Parshat Eikev. 

This was about the Shema. 

The Shema speaks about Hashem’s way, and how we should follow His way. 

We should also teach our children Hashem’s way and teach our children’s children Hashem’s way. 

This is how we honor Hashem. 

She taught us her outlook on life. 

All mothers have a mission in life – that’s bringing up their children. 

This was our mother’s mission, too.  

She did it in Hashem’s way – being charitable, doing acts of hesed, being humble, visiting the sick, and helping the poor people.  

My mother taught us and all her children and grandchildren that way. 

Her testimony to that is in through her family’s work. 

Going back to when we were small children, my mother worked day and night shifts in Times Square. And even on Saturday night when Shabbat was over they would pick her up. 

She sacrificed her time so that we could have extra comfort. 

Mom’s courage and bravery were very evident.  

She was a fighter, that never left any stone unturned until she got her job done. 

On one Rosh Hashanah, I remember quite clearly that I didn’t have money for a new pair of shoes. She said, “Don’t worry Joey, there are people out there without any feet.” 

So, let’s all think about where our mothers and grandmothers are. Please spend time with them and bring your children. 

Kiss them and hug them with your children and let your children learn who they really are. 

It’s not an errand, it’s something that you should want to do. 

If I had to somehow do it all again, what would I think I would have to change? 

I would spend more time with my mother.  

The way that her mother taught her children and the way we pass it on to our children. And they will pass it to their grandchildren, which is Hashem’s way. This is the Shema that we learn in Parshat Eikev. 

 

Mesorah 

This was the mesorah Grandpa truly lived by. 

This was ingrained in him, and he ingrained it in us. 

Words of consistency, words that stand the test of time. 

Grandpa lived by the lesson of the Shema, which he learned from his mother. 

That we should always treasure the time we have with our grandparents. 

Perpetuate their lessons to our children. 

The lessons of love, communication, time, and the eternal importance of the Torah.