Since my return from Israel a couple of weeks ago I accelerated my daily study of the daf yomi (daily Talmud study) so as to complete Kesubos (a tractate in the Talmud) in time for my mother’s yarziet. This past Shabbos I made siyum in memory of my mother at a shlaosh seudos (Sabbath afternoon meal) at our home with my daf yomi partners. It was a most appropriate and meangful way for me to conclude my year of mourning and to honor my mother a”h.
In completing Kesubos I focused on the statement of Rabbi Chiya (on daf 111 b) that states that when techiyas hamaisim (resurrection of the dead) occurs the saintly will arise “in their clothing”. While some commentators understand this reference to mean actual clothing – either burial shrouds or actual clothing – the Maharal understands this passage to refer to “spiritual clothing” i.e., the good deeds of the departed.
In this vein, among my mother’s most outstanding qualities were (i) her respect for her parents and (ii) her love for my father.
I am named for my maternal grandfather who died suddenly of a heart attack in his early 50s. My parents had only been married a few short years at the time of his death and nonetheless, they insisted that my grandmother relocate from Buffalo and take up residence with them. My grandmother lived with my parents for the next 30 plus years, virtually my parents’ entire married life together, until her death in 1986. My nuclear family included my grandmother who participated in everything we did – vacations included. My mother was clearly blessed by the Almighty with a long life because of her incredible devotion to her mother.
My mother’s love and respect for my father knew no bounds. I grew up in a house in which I never heard my parents so much as raise their voices to one another. They were totally devoted to each other in every respect. Unfortunately my father’s untimely death 29 years ago was a tragedy from which my mother never fully recovered.
The conclusion of my siyum this past Shabbos gave me a sense of closure; a feeling that it is now time for me to move on and implement the many lessons I have learned over the past twelve months.