35

“Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.”

H. Jackson Brown, Jr. 

 

 

 

This is the Parshah that among other things, is speaking about the observance of Shabbat:

ב  דַּבֵּר אֶל-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאָמַרְתָּ אֲלֵהֶם, מוֹעֲדֵי יְהוָה, אֲשֶׁר-תִּקְרְאוּ אֹתָם מִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ–אֵלֶּה הֵם, מוֹעֲדָי.

2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them: The appointed seasons of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are My appointed seasons.

ג  שֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים, תֵּעָשֶׂה מְלָאכָה, וּבַיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתוֹן מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ, כָּל-מְלָאכָה לֹא תַעֲשׂוּ:  שַׁבָּת הִוא לַיהוָה, בְּכֹל מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם.

3 Six days shall work be done; but on the seventh day is a sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of work; it is a sabbath unto the LORD in all your dwellings.

 

I first heard this 35 years ago. How? 35 years ago I got married to a man who brought me to all things Jewish.

A lifetime of what should have been a great life with a man I loved, who in reality, took me into his hands, carried me through what can now be described the roughest years in the modern Soviet history and brought me to these shores, this lifetime was cut too short for us.

Who, in 1983 would have thought that the USSR, the most powerful antagonist of another world giant, USA, would collapse so soon and would give the rise to such violence, anarchy and uncertainty that we never thought possible – we the “post-war” children sure of peace and quiet swamp-like existence in our homeland.

During our life in a place forsaken then, but known to everyone now, the city of Grozny, I learned so much about different people, their histories and dreams so different from those that I was taught in the best school of my childhood city of Sverdlovsk. Things that were unfathomable to me, a young, idealistic girl brought up without many hardships in my parents’ house, appeared normal there – young girls married off to old guys with money by their parents like a fellow student of mine, an Ingush girl so smart and hardworking she should have gone on to study in an “Aspirantura” – graduate school, ensuring her path to PhD. Alas, she was the only girl in a family with six boys, none of them even close to her in their academic pursuits, but all in need of money.

During this time, we could smell the upcoming war and were lucky enough to run away just in time, right after my graduation as Russians say ‘из огня да в полымя’ – out of the frying pan into the fire – to a village in Ukraine! How I managed to bring my husband, with his beard, huge Jewish nose and a head, almost always covered, beats me even today. I guess, among other things, this is what love was for him. Love that manifested itself in things big and small, love that lots of times I wasn’t appreciating enough …

When after sweet times and horrors we left for the land on the other side of the ocean, we still had hopes, despite the diagnosis. Hopes for a good life with family, next to his beloved brother, dreaming of better times. Well, times did not become better for us. Our souls had to part – his to a place much higher than mine, a place I know nothing of, a place I imagined so many times during these years to no avail. Mine – to this sinful abode running around, working, studying, raising the girls. And what girls they turned out to be! B’H!

Now, when I think about that spring day 35 years ago, all I can remember are your eyes looking at me with hope and love. Those same eyes I remember looking at me the last day of your life. All I can pray for is that men that merit to accompany our daughters in life look at them with the same loving eyes.

So for the last 20 years, this is my song:

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