Thursday, October 8, 2009

A quiet celebration

Yom chamishi, 20 Tishrei 5770.

Yesterday was a quiet "put things back together" day, after the activities of the preceding entertainment-filled days.  We had had a lot of welcome rain for the past two nights, turning my sukkah floor into a muddy mess.  And the Neve Daniel winds shifted the sukkah a meter across the mirpeset, bringing out the Dearly Beloved's constantly evolving feats of engineering.

The preceding day was spent visiting friends in Beitar Illit, whom we have known for nearly 20 years.  They were also very respectful of my dear Mama, a"h.  Hashem chose the day of the visit, as we were not conscious of the juxtaposition of date and time until later.  These lovely people hosted us on the day of Mama's yahrzeit, which also happens to be the Hebrew date of our geirut.  Twenty years ago, we joined the most amazing people on Earth, thanks to the kindness of the Borei Olam.

Mama lived with us the last thirteen years of her life.  She was very supportive of our choice, and of our community.  My husband remembers, every Sukkot, how he and "Bubbie" spent a lovely two hours on our patio one year, as he and she combined their wisdom and experience to design a new method of strengthening the walls and the bracing system for the schach.  Each year, he has fond memories of that time with her; and he is comforted that she is somehow present as he puts the finishing touches on our sukkah.

Here is what my friend wrote to me, when I told her that I had realized how she and her husband had been part of our special day:

Things don't just happen...I really love your family and have a lot of respect for both of you, and I still think of your mother with a lot of love.   I can't help but think that your mom joined the ushpizin and was watching us and smiling. You have Hashem, and you have your guardian angel...your mom.  You are well watched over, Ruth

Hashem has been very kind to us.  May we continue to somehow merit His largesse.

Mirpeset:  porch, patio, balcony -- there are probably different words for each; but we are used to saying and hearing this one as a catch-all for all three
Yahrzeit:  anniversary of a person's passing from this world (Yiddish)
Geirut:  conversion
Borei Olam:  Creator of the Universe
Bubbie:  grandma (Yiddish)
Schach:  the roof covering for the sukkah -- must be made of something that once grew from the earth, but is now disconnected from it
Ushpizin:  the holy visitors to the sukkah -- each nigh of Sukkot, we symbolically welcome on of our holy forefathers into the sukkah
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