web analytics
February 28, 2015 / 9 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


The Eternal Flame

Lessons-logo

This column is dedicated to the memory of my mother-in-law, Shoshana Weinberg.

It was a few minutes after sunrise. A new day had begun, and everyone was preparing for work, school and shopping for Shabbat. But the sun was setting slowly in our basement, as it was setting calmly for my mother-in-law. It was time for her to take leave of family, children and everything in this world.

For almost nine months she had struggled valiantly with pancreatic cancer that slowly but surely took away her strength. But she still insisted on participating in activities that she normally would not have done. I think it was her calm way of fighting and dealing with life’s curves. Until her last month she attended the seniors group twice a week. And of course she insisted on shopping and lugging her own purchases home from the supermarket. One day, seeing her breathless, I offered to help her. But “help” was not part of her vocabulary until the very end, when it became quite obvious that she could not manage on her own.

As God orchestrates life’s cycles, my mother-in-law’s nine-month struggle occurred during approximately the same nine-month period that my eldest daughter was pregnant with her fifth child. To that point we had nine grandsons, all beautiful and filled with personality. But no granddaughters, although I still held out hope for one (who could be named after my mother).

At around midnight one night, we were beckoned to our daughter’s home in order to take care of her children snuggled in their beds. Five minutes after arriving, my daughter and son-in-law were on their way to meet the doula and go to the hospital. Fifteen minutes later we got the SMS we had been waiting for – for over 10 years: it’s a girl! They could not have gotten to the hospital in just 15 minutes; my new granddaughter was indeed born in their car. Yes, we were very tired – but very happy about our new addition.

This all happened exactly one week before my mother-in-law passed away. The thing about parents is that you don’t want to let them go. All of us were once attached to our mothers by the umbilical cord, and in a way we remain as such throughout our lives – until death do us part. In this case it was hard to let go, though none of us wanted to see her suffer to the point where she would be in chronic pain, dependent on others for her every need.

Perhaps due to our prayers, or to some miracle, she managed so well for so long. During most of her nine months of suffering, she spent much more time with us at meals and on Shabbatot. That was the least we could do.

During my mother-in-law’s last few months, my wife and her mother spent quality time together around the Shabbat candles. My wife told me that my mother-in-law would give a special blessing to all the children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren. While she will no longer light those candles, the memory of those special and unique moments will live on.

Only a day before her passing my daughter gathered the family together to name her baby – our first granddaughter. And my mother-in-law miraculously found the stamina to get dressed and attend the naming. What a lesson in strength and courage. No, not physical strength but strength of spirit – which is of greater value. She so much wanted to be part of the happy event that nothing was going to keep her away.

That afternoon everyone gathered at my mother-in-law’s home to participate in what had become known as Savta Pizza Day. Every Thursday afternoon for more than a year she treated all of us to pizza (I’m really not a pizza fan, but I was there to be part of the clan and to run after my grandchildren). This was the one and only time that my mother-in-law did not have the strength to leave her home and go to the local pizzeria. So we went to her backyard, pizza in hand. We sang with her, read from the Book of Psalms, and enjoyed each other’s company. We didn’t realize that this was to be the very last Savta Pizza Day.

The following morning, at sunrise, she returned her soul to her Maker, as pure and as wonderful as when she came into this world 76 years earlier.

A new sun had risen, as the other had set. But the memories and the celebrations will carry on.

“Generation to generation will praise Your works.”

About the Author: Rabbi Zalman Eisenstock, author of “Psalms: An Eternal Treasure,” is a freelance writer and educator living in Efrat, Israel. He can be contacted at zalmaneisenstock@gmail.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Eternal Flame”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
18,000 Iranian Centrifuges
Reducing Iran’s Number of Centrifuges Makes a Bomb More Likely
Latest Judaism Stories
Niehaus-022715

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

Mendlowitz-022715-Basket

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

Winiarz-022715-Kids

Does Hashem ever go away and not pay attention to us?

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

In other words, the Torah is an expression of the Way that we must follow in order to live a divine-like life and to bond in the highest way possible with God or Being Itself.

The Chasam Sofer answers that one of only prohibited from wearing a garment that contains shatnez if he does so while wearing the garment for pleasure purposes.

The avodah (service) of the kohen gadol is vital and highly sensitive; the world’s very existence depends on it.

Moreover, even if the perpetrator of the capital offense is never actually executed, such as when the fatal act was unintentional, Kam Lei applies and the judge cannot award damages.

Forever After?
‘Obligated for Challahh and Not Terumah’
(Kesubos 25a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

“We really appreciate your efforts in straightening the shul,” said Mr. Reiss. “How is it going?”

This was a spontaneous act of rest after the miracle of vanquishing their respective foes. The following year they celebrated on the same days as a minhag.

The way we must to relate to our young adult children is to communicate with genuine loving-kindness

Jewish prayer is a convergence of 2 modes of biblical spirituality, exemplified by Moses and Aaron

In holy places it’s important to maintain a level of silence permitting people to dialogue with God

Eventually, after some trial and error, including an experience with a prima donna and one with a thief, I baruch Hashem ultimately found a fine, honest and reliable household helper.

More Articles from Rabbi Zalman Eisenstock
Front-Page-010915

We shed many tears and had endless discussions as to what had gone wrong. What did we do or fail to do that caused our son to distance himself from what we viewed as so beautiful and meaningful?

Eisenstock-082914

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

Our loved ones seem present though we can no longer see them or be with them, just as it is with God

Just as the moon waxes and wanes and then totally disappears from view before returning to the night sky, so, too, the Jewish people.

It was a few minutes after sunrise. A new day had begun, and everyone was preparing for work, school and shopping for Shabbat. But the sun was setting slowly in our basement, as it was setting calmly for my mother-in-law. It was time for her to take leave of family, children and everything in this world.

Rosh Hashanah memories take us to our shuls, homes and families. They remind us of promises made about how we would change our lives and rearrange our priorities. There may also be memories of the delicacies we ate when we were children – the chicken soup, gefilte fish and great desserts. And one sound, the sound of the shofar blasting away with its shrill notes of tekiah, shevarim… and finally the long, very last sound – the tekiah gedolah.

A little more than six months ago, my sister-in-law passed away after battling a serious illness. For more than 30 years she had given symposiums on the Holocaust to youngsters in the Philadelphia area, and we talked about her activities many times on our visits to the U.S. After her passing I was determined to do some kind of volunteer work for Yad Vashem in her memory.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/jewish-columns/lessons-in-emunah/the-eternal-flame/2013/08/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: