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« Eulogy for My Mother | Main | Marzipan & Meaning: Jerusalem Reflections »



Beautiful, Esther. Just beautiful. What a lovely tribute to your Ema. Wishing you comfort and strength and blessing and peace...


Nice post, Esther. If you're ever feeling needlessly philosophical, look at Maurice Blanchot. He talks quite a bit about the concept of darkness illuminating more brilliantly than light. It's become a bit of a touchstone for me both professionally and personally in the last 7 years or so.


The question is, when would I ever NOT feel needlessly philosophical? Thanks, Monica. Will add that author to the list...appreciate your comments and support.


This is such a beautiful post, and it resonates so much with me. When my great-uncle, one of the first JTS chazzans, was very ill he sang parts of Hashkiveinu when I was sitting with him while he drifted in and out of sleep- for hours, just a few words at a time. During shiva, I couldn't make it through Maariv without falling apart just by reading the first line of that prayer.

I came to really love Maariv. I can actually hear my uncle's voice in my head when I get to Hashkiveinu, and it gives me such a feeling of connection to the words- practically a quasi-physical manifestation of serenity and peace- that I sometimes just stop for a few minutes and revel in it.

Again, thanks for sharing something so personal, and wishing you much strength and comfort.


Beautiful, Judi. That drifting in and out of sleep resonates metaphorically as a manifestation of golel ohr mipnei choshech vchoshech mipnei ohr, at least for me. Thanks for sharing.


So thoughtful and lovely, Esther. I'm not much of a synagogue goer though I have made a promise that when my mother-in-law finally passes, I will do my best to fulfill the obligation (?) of going for the 30 days and saying Kaddish for a year. Reading this helps me see the meaning and yes, joy, in the process.


All mourners eventually return to the living world. There's nowhere else to go. For me, the Jewish burial service is the beginning of the end of mourning, in a sense. When my wife died and we buried her the next day, the sound of the dirt on the coffin tore me in half and I wept uncontrollably, barely able to stand upright. But the healing began with that moment because, although death was present, it was acknowledged and the future began that instant. So mourn but do not fear laughter--and a really good espresso (if such things can be had in Jerusalem!). I think maybe that's what your mother would do.



Jill Zimmerman

Dear Esther. I am really moved by your story -- hope you are doing well. Jill

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