My father, Rabbi Ben Isaacson, died today, December 7, 2020, of heart failure. He died in Johannesburg, South Africa, the home he loved, fought for and would never have abandoned. Dad was a true son of South Africa.
My father had a brilliant and original mind. Before his death, he was working on books about the greatest Hebrew prophets who were his muse.
This column of mine, “Job: Jewish Individualist, instantiates and is greatly influenced by dad’s thinking. I wager no rabbi would look at Job as a scrappy dissident who quarreled with G-d and won on the merits of his argument. The book is a radical philosophical masterpiece, to which dad’s thinking, at once scholarly yet original, was well suited
From him, I got a fierce sense of immutable justice, a deep love of the best in literature and music (J.S. Bach was as close to G-d as it gets, he once muttered in secret), and an analytical habit of mind.
His medical team in South Africa were healers with a heart. I am proud of and grateful to South Africa’s finest—and to my family, all.
I love you daddy. xx