Mommy, I’ve been thinking about you a lot these days.
I guess it’s because of the war but also because of the beautiful framed picture that hangs in my bedroom that you wrote during a past war with Lebanon.
Shandee was doing Sherut Leumi that year and she chose to do it in Shaarei Zedek hospital. You directed part of that poem to her seeing young men her own age, some of whom she knew, come in wounded.
This time it’s closer to home. This time it’s my grandchildren fighting and in harms way. I say Tehillim every day and of course daven, but I need extra help from you upstairs. Please help us here on earth. Please appeal to Hashem for all of us – Am Yisrael.
Naomi Klass Mauer
Wednesday, the sixteenth of Kislev marks my mom Irene Klass’s thirteenth yahrzeit. Sometimes it seems like yesterday and other times it seems so long ago.
Mommy, there are so many things that I want to tell you and so many things that I would like your advice for. I would love to tell you about my two granddaughters who are named after you. Avichayil Yitta’s friendly personality and Ayelet Yitta’s beautiful singing voice remind me so much of you.
We miss you so much.
Bubby Irene’s yahrzeit falls in the parshiyot that we read about Yaacov Avinu and the building of the Jewish family. Chazal teach us that each one of the Avos bequeathed us an attribute, Avraham Avinu’s attribute was chesed, Yitzchak Avinu’s was gevurah, and Yaacov Avinu’s attribute was emet – truth. While Bubby actually possessed all of these attributes – she was a great baalat chesed, her kindness, tzedaka and ability to be nosei b’ol im chaveiro were outstanding and unmatched by anyone that I knew; and although short in physical height, Bubby was full of gevurah, and not afraid to do what was right – I have to say that I believe her most outstanding attribute was emet. The emet of the Torah that guided her every move. Even when it was not the popular opinion, she sought out da’at Torah and followed it. Bubby knew that the Torah was the only way of life, and that is how, with siyata dishmaya, she together with Zaidy raised their family.
We are taught that Hashem’s name is emet and that He created the world with emet. And while I miss Bubby all the time, today, when we are surrounded by so much sheker, her loss is felt even more. The world around us seems to have lost its way, and is in a terrible darkness, Bubby was always a source of light to me, always knew what to say, always had a quote from the Torah (or Shakespeare) to shed light on the situation.
Yaacov Avinu was the one who built the Jewish family. Family was most important to Bubby, how happy she was when we came to visit. I remember as a young child feeling that I was the most important person in the whole world to Bubby, and as I grew, after she made my shidduch, I felt she was very proud of the family Meir and I were raising. I feel very fortunate that she lived to see great great grandchildren. But moreover, I thank Hashem that my children and some of their children had the opportunity to see Bubby, so that they can better emulate her righteous ways.
When Yaacov Avinu was on his way, he said Mizmor 121 in Tehillim, which beings “Esah einay el he’harim, mei’ayin yavo ezri” (“I lift my eyes to the mountains; where does my help come from?”). Chazal tell us that we can read the word harim (mountains) as horim (parents). Yaacov was teaching us that the way to walk on the right path is by looking to our parents – our ancestors – to remember where we came from, and to walk on the path that they paved for us. Bubby, you left us a very straight path to follow. We pray that we live up to the Torah expectations that you set for us, and that your neshama have an aliyah. We miss you.
I Feel so privileged and fortunate to have been able to name my only daughter after my Bubby Irene. I hope that she inherits many of Bubby’s admirable traits. Recently, I was reminded of one of these traits: her constant mentioning of Hashem, whom she would refer to as “The Almighty.” We are soon coming to the parsha of Yosef, about whom Rashi says, “Shem shamayim shagur b’fiv – the name of Hashem was constantly in his mouth.”
As a little girl I remember giggling when Bubby would say “The Almighty” or “The L-rd.” Yet those phrases filled all her conversations. She always had shem shamayim shagur b’peh. As an adult I realize that someone who constantly is mentioning the name of Hashem is not just saying “the Almighty,” but living with a level of constant emunah. Especially in today’s tumultuous world, the timeless wisdom of keeping Hashem’s name on our tongues serves as a poignant reminder and a source of strength for navigating the challenges of our time.