Recently, my son was amused to see me fiddling with a hammer and nails in order to once again, re-arrange needlepoints and photos on my dining room wall. The needlepoints, lovingly made by my mother, obm, feature various Jewish themes.
One in particular, represents Mommie’s most precious mitzvah, her beloved Shabbos. I hung this needlepoint on my kitchen wall, obviously the place most closely associated with the Akeret HaBayit, the woman, who represents the foundation of the home.
Without question, Mommie was the foundation not only of our home, but THE home at which she welcomed family and friends from near and far where they would not only enjoy a wonderful home-cooked meal but a loving mother-figure, to whom ALL could find a listening ear.
This outstanding characteristic, brings to mind the last trip that my cousin Billy, obm, (my father’s nephew) insisted on taking, in his final days, driving cross-country on pain killers because he wanted to eat one final time at Aunt Rose’s house.
Although Billy was not an observant Jew, Mommie discussed with him, a single fellow without family of his own, how important it was to ensure that kaddish would be said for him after his passing. He agreed, so my mother arranged it. Every year, therefore, when I receive Billy’s kaddish reminder, it amazes me that Mommie had the guts to make this suggestion, but of course, I am reminded that in word and in deed Mommie always put Hashem’s will first!
It’s been 14 years since Hashem returned my mother home to HIM on Shabbos Bereishis. In fact, in her last months, Mommie kept asking me: “When is Shabbos?” Perhaps, I wonder, did she have a sense of what awaited her: no more pain or suffering and a reunion with Daddy, obm, a loss from which she never recovered?
Time has not lessened my longing for her however, comfort did come to me in a very unexpected manner. A few years ago, noting that a Jewish publication liked to highlight various Jewish communities, I suggested that my hometown of Bayonne, NJ be featured. I was connected to the proposed author of the piece, whom I never met in person, but communicated with him via telephone and email in order to provide him with contacts and background information. Shortly before the publication of the article, he told me that he had a surprise for me. I had absolutely no idea what he had in mind.
It was this: He noted in the piece, that I, “Rose and Manny Tunis’s daughter” was the impetus for the publication of this article!
To this day, I cannot figure out how he “got” me!
One might wonder what was so special about being known as one of the “Tunis Girls?” My parents were by no means famous in any sense of the word however, our yerushah (inheritance) from them IS their shem tov, (their good name) for as we learn in Pirkei Avos – Keter Shem Tov – the crown of a good name, exceeds the three crowns representing Torah, the Kehuna (the Priesthood) and the Crown of Malchus (Kingship).
And finally, as I reflect yet again about the theme of Mommie’s “Kitchen Needlepoint,” which not only includes the customary Shabbos candlesticks but a shofar too, it got me to thinking, as I am penning these words, that the shofar is perhaps a siman (sign) that Mommie is “assuring me” that the Geula Shleimah is IMMINENT, for after all:
Mother is Always Right!
Amein, Keyn Yehi Ratzon, Amein!