We are interrupting our regularly scheduled program to bring you a special update. I have taken a break this week from the feminine/masculine energies series to talk about a special woman, Ruth.
We have just finished celebrating here in Israel the Jewish holiday of Shavuot – Pentecost. This holiday is the celebration of the marriage between G-d and the Jewish people, enacted by the giving of the Torah to the Jewish nation at Mount Sinai. During services on Shavuot morning, we read the story of Ruth the Moavite, a woman known for her plight as a poor widowed daughter-in-law of Nomi, as well as for her modesty. The story of Ruth was written down by Samuel the prophet to refute any and all question to the lineage of David, Ruth’s great-grandson, and future king of Israel. There were those who thought his legacy was marred for his mother’s being from the Moavite nation, when, in truth, it is only stated that men from the Moavite nation were not permitted to join the Jewish nation, not the women of that tribe. And so Ruth's legacy was inscribed as irrefutable, the absolute truth.
And here I want to introduce the main topic of this blog, my grandmother-in-law, Ruth. I was inspired to write her a letter, and then the tie in to Ruth and this week seemed to make it all too preordained to not include it as this week’s post. So here it is.
Dear Bubba (Yiddish for grandmother),
I wanted to call to tell you…but there are certain things better put down in a letter than communicated over the phone.
I want you to know that although you are 6,000 miles away, your chinuch (teachings of import) is present here daily. You do not perhaps see your grandson in action, but I get to live with him. You do not see how beautifully you have raised your great-grandchildren, but I get to share in the pride that is yours as well, while I watch them behave in a way that would make you smile.
You set an example and lived by it, making sure you and Zeida were a constant presence in your children’s and grandchildren’s lives, and now you get to reap the rewards. You instilled ethics, understanding, compassion, love and dedication to family, respect, humility, community service, chessed (acts of kindness), contribution, loyalty…and now I get to live with the rewards. You have helped to mold a dedicated, loving, generous, wonderful, light-in-the-world grandson. And now together, with your unconditional love and teachings etched into both our hearts, we are passing your legacy and chinuch to our children.
Strong, compassionate, giving, empathetic children, who have you as their role model of what good is. You may be thousands of miles away, but you’re always here.
Just the other day, the kids were looking through the book we made to honor Zeida, may he rest in peace. They never met him, they never had to meet him, to have his merits etched into their souls. Thank you for keeping a man like that alive in spirit so he can continue teaching and touching the world.
We love you, Bubba, and are so grateful for all the love and lessons you have given to us all so generously over the years (and your cookies, of course :) ).
We miss you, but you are never far from the mind and heart, and so are always present with us, even if we do miss your physical presence and hugs…and cookies.
Be proud, Bubba. Of what you see and what I see. They would make you so proud.
Sending love and tears,
P.S. They say that all that is real in this world is what comes from love. G-d is love and all He made is love, so that is all that is REAL. Many of us walk around in phases of imagination, false reality, for thinking that actions made out of lack of love, lack of compassion, or made from fear, are real. They are not. So many people build lives that are only half truth.
You, Bubba, have a solid REAL foundation that is all love, and so the generations building on that foundation are built on something so real, so solid. So meaningful. You have given us that, and that is something we get to live with every day. And we are, all of your children, the better for it always.
With love, Devorah
Leave a legacy of tRuth