The second marker

Tonight marks the end of the shloshim.  30 days since MY MOM’s funeral.  It feels like a lifetime has passed and I am still in the throes of this nightmare that won’t end.  I am only getting more accustomed to the dream so it is a little bit less scary.  On Sunday evening, Temple Sinai held a minyan (we don’t normally have minyan on Sunday evening) in memory of MY MOM.  Below is what I said through many tears.

This week we reach the end of the book of Genesis.  There is some twisted coincidence that it is also this week that my family and I mark the end of shloshim, 30 days since my mother’s funeral.  These past days have been filled with immense sadness, loneliness, and uncertainty.  Yet as I mourn for my mother I also search for meaning.  Like those who have come before me, I turn to Torah.

In this week’s Torah portion we read of the end of Jacob’s preparations for death and the mourning rituals his sons undertake in his honor.  Jacob calls Joseph’s sons to him and places his hands upon the heads of Menashe and Ephraim.  Interestingly, as Jacob bestows a blessing onto them he is in fact blessing Joseph.  The text states, “Va’yevarech et-Yosef,” “and he, Jacob, blessed Joseph.”[1] How can it be that Jacob is blessing Joseph while his hands remain on his children?  Ramban answers that in order to bless Joseph, out of his love for him, he blessed his sons.  In order to give blessing to a parent, one can use the language of blessing for his or her children as a symbol of love.

In the past days and weeks many have shared words of tribute and blessing about my mom, Jane.  Family and friends, even acquaintances of my mom’s that I did not know recount of my life and the pride she felt in my sister and I. In the offering of kind words and compliments about us, my mother is the one receiving the blessing.

It says in the Zohar, “One blesses people best by blessing their children,” [Zohar I:227b].  Life is a blessing.  While my mother’s life was tragically cut too short, my sister, Jessica, my dad, Gary, and I will be able to bless my mother’s life and show honor to her memory as we live our lives every day.

I pray that it be Your will, Rock of Israel’s strength, that through these difficult days and weeks ahead, my family and I continue to know the loving presence of people who care for us.  Help us to hold fast to memories and to recount experiences that keep my mother near to us.  Permit my mother to know peace under the sacred wings of Your presence. Tehi zichra baruch.   May her memory forever be a blessing.  Amen.



[1] Gen. 48:15


About rabbisteinman

I am a rabbi living in North America. I was ordained from HUC-JIR. This is my blog.
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2 Responses to The second marker

  1. kate searls says:

    Ellie, you bear the marks of your mother in your grace and focus on living.

  2. Chris says:

    I have been reading your writings about your Mom… bring me to tears every time. You write so beautifully and eloquently.

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