When I began to study Torah seriously as a college student, I was introduced to its spiritual depths. I found that the meanings of the holidays went beyond the agricultural and historical sources, and often had complex spiritual teachings woven in. I remember that, back in those days, I could find little spiritual or poetic meanings of Shemini Atzeret. It was blank, or more accurately, a cipher.
The night before he died, 78-year-old Tibor Reis stayed up until 2 a.m. studying Torah. When he awoke early the next morning, he went to the mikvah (ritual bath) and then to pray at Young Israel of Los Angeles, where he had been a member for more than 30 years.