Tonight begins the 21st of Kislev. This year, the days of December line up with the days of Kislev. It is a sad day in our family as it is the Yahrzeit (commemoration of the anniversary of death) of my mother-in-law, Devorah bas Yitzchok Ahron. We light a yahrtzeit candle, also called a נר נשמה (candle of the soul) during the yahrzeit to reflect on the neshoma (soul) of the departed.
My mother-in-law had an effervescence that was contagious. She loved being around people and she loved life. She loved parties of all kinds. She remembered everyone’s birthdays and she especially loved Chanukah. When she would travel to Florida for the winter, she would always remember to send presents for the grandchildren before she left. She loved dressing up on Purim and bringing costumes and masks for everyone else. Mom was the life of the party.
Mom had been ill with pancreatic cancer for over two years. The fact that she lived with this terrible illness for that long was testimony to the excellent care that she received from her children. Every medical decision was contemplated and carefully evaluated. She was warmly cared for by her children and grandchildren who worked hard to allow her effervescence to shine through until her very last moments.
That Chanukah during shiva (seven day mourning period) eight years ago was so poignant and yet so beautiful. Lighting the Chanukah candles together and sitting all together on Chanukah was so reminiscent of Mom’s energy and spirit. Her neshoma was so entwined with the albeit sad Chanukah celebration that year and in the future.
Mom loved to share all that she had and all that she enjoyed with others. Mom’s Hebrew name was דְּבוֹרָה, Devorah, and it is so significant that her name began with the letter Daled, ד. The Hebrew letter, Daled, ד, is shaped like a door with a horizontal line on top for protection and a vertical line for stability. Mom’s life was truly like a door, as her home and heart were open to everyone. She invited so many friends and neighbors to enjoy Shabbos and Yomim Tovim (Jewish holidays) with her. She invited her mother to live in her home after her father passed away. There was a steady stream of visitors and crafts every Sunday as her many siblings and family members came to visit Bubby, the matriarch of the Kramer family. Even when Mom was most ill, she was always concerned with those around her.
Tonight, Don and his brother have traveled to Israel, where Mom is buried. They have commemorated the yahrzeit with a siyum (completion of a tractate of Torah) and seuda (festive meal) in Jerusalem. The family will visit Mom’s grave tomorrow and then return in time for Chanukah. Mom would be so content and happy to have her yarzheit commemorated with Torah and with a festive gathering of family and friends. That was the true spirit of her life. It is the ongoing legacy that she has left us.
May the neshoma of Devorah bas Yitzchok Ahron a’H be elevated.