Photo Credit: Jewish Press

It is said that Yaakov‘s voice, and/or his manner of speech, was a distinguishing characteristic of his for Yitzchak. I know what it is like to have a distinctive voice, and it isn’t because my voice is unique – it’s because I sound just like my mom.

Well before adulthood, before I even hit my teens, I was consistently mistaken for her by friends and work colleagues when they would call our house (remember landlines?). My “Hello?” would elicit a flow of information about an upcoming deposition or a dance school carpool conundrum that could only be stemmed with the magic words, “Sorry – this isn’t Marilyn, it’s Rachel.”


Not only did my mother and I naturally share a tone and timber, but the ways in which she expressed her humor, honesty, and force of character came to shape my delivery in conversation as well.

Last week, my family marked the end of shloshim. During shiva, friends and family who I hadn’t spoken with in years remarked (albeit never directly to me) how uncannily my voice resembles that of my mother. I can only hope that the reminder of our similarities will give me the chizuk I will need to emulate the commitment to her convictions, the humility, and the fortitude that distinguished her in life.


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Rachel Kohn is a freelance writer based in Chicago. Follow her on Twitter at @RachelKTweets and see more of her work at