Another footprint my grandmother left me was her davening. Bubbie had a special way of davening. She actually had a conversation with Hashem. Every morning she would stand by the glass doors to her porch, look up to the sky with tears in her eyes, and say most of the morning prayers as they are written in the siddur. But then when she was done, she would continue to stand there and literally talk to Hashem, telling Him how thankful she was for all the blessings He gave her. She would list her children and all of her grandchildren, and beseech Him for whatever anyone needed. It was obvious from the way she spoke that she firmly believed that He was present and listening. She understood that Hashem was the One and Only address that was worth talking to. She spoke to Hashem from her heart and always with tears in her eyes. I knew she was davening for me and I felt safe and protected. As I go through my prayers in my busy life, I try to envision Bubbie talking to Hashem, so that I might follow in her large footprints.
My grandmother also had a very strong sense of right and wrong. She didn’t believe in being “politically correct” when it came to moral issues. She was extremely honest and did not bend the truth. Something was either right or wrong. And anything that was right and just was worth standing up for and fighting for – and that is what she did. As she was a gifted writer, she often used the power of the pen and the press to fight for just causes. Bubbie would stay up through the night to make one more phone call or write one more letter or article. She just could not rest until she knew that she had done all that was in her power to bring about justice. She conducted every aspect of her busy life with honesty and sincerity.
Finally, my grandmother was a very modest woman as well. She dressed beautifully and stylishly, but always followed the halachot of tzniut. Her modesty was reflected not only in her clothing but in her speech and behavior as well. She never spoke a foul word and would refuse to listen to anything that contained language that was inappropriate. She would not hesitate to leave in the middle of a show (on Saturday night, when she was in a hotel) if she felt that the content was not pure, and couldn’t understand why any person who followed Torah ways stayed to hear the vulgar language.
My grandmother had many other wonderful talents, such as dancing and singing, but what I miss most of all is her Torah-sound advice, her clear vision in a world gone mad, and her honest way of telling it straight. The footprints she left for us are huge, despite her small physical size. My husband and I try, as Hashem advises us, to raise our family to follow in her footprints, to keep them fresh and clear for the next generation so that we, together with Klal Yisrael, may be zocheh to survive this galut and return to Eretz Yisrael, ushering in the final geulah, bimheirah b’yameinu. Amen.