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Chapter Seventeen


My Mother's Tenth Yahrzeit


    Mutti Hershkowitz (Chanchi and Yosef's second son) is a super terrific kid who possesses a perpetually positive outlook on life. Chanchi once told me that whenever she took her children to see the Rebbe he would give each of her children a bracha, but when Mutti came up to him he would say, "Zei Gezunt," almost as if he was greeting an old friend. Recently Chanchi mentioned that Mutti (whose real name is Mordechai) was named for her uncle who worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. When I heard this I immediately asked her if she thought the Rebbe, who also worked in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, might have known her uncle. Chanchi said she thought it might very well have been possible.

     The whole reason Chanchi and I were talking about Mutti was because Chanchi had called to let me know that Mutti's Bar Mitzvah Celebration was planned for Sunday, June 9, 1996. I quickly responded, "That's the 22nd of Sivan, that's my mother's Tenth Yahrzeit." I asked Chanchi if I was allowed to attend a Bar Mitzvah Celebration on that day. She said not only was I allowed to attend, but it would be good for my mother's neshama if I was there to here Mutti say the Bar Mitzvah Maimaar. I was relieved to hear her answer because for some reason I was especially anxious about this particular Yahrzeit. I wanted it to be extra special. Besides wanting to feel a strong connection to my fellow Jews, I really wanted to be able to feel my mother's presence somehow.

     When I walked into Mutti's Bar Mitzvah Celebration I had an especially good feeling inside of me, and naturally this feeling became enhanced the moment I saw the beautiful smiling face of Faige Moskovits (Shimshon and Martha's other lovely daughter). Faige is a fabulous person to be around because she's hysterically funny, almost as funny as her sister Chanie Perelmuter (almost). I had such a great time sitting next to Faige and I made sure to listen extra attentively to Mutti when he said the Maimaar.

     As soon as he finished, the music began and everyone got up to dance. The women danced in a circle around Chanchi and we took turns dancing with her in the middle of the circle. Just when it seemed that life couldn't get any more joyful, I noticed that someone was bringing Chanchi's mother over in her wheelchair to dance with her daughter. Watching chanchi dance with her mother was such a beautiful and touching moment for all of us, especially me. It didn't make any difference that her mother was in a wheelchair because a person's spirit shines way beyond the body in which it is temporarily housed. And in that moment Chanchi's mother's spirit was truly shining with a pride that lit up the whole room. I started to cry and Faige immediately handed me a napkin. Thank G-D for people from the Stock family who are always right there when you need something.

     A few minutes later, Martha Stock walked in the room and I ran over to give here a big hug. I knew the moment I hugged her that I didn't have to ask her what cologne she was wearing but I asked her anyway just to hear her answer. I knew what it was because she smelled exactly like my mother, who always wore Youth Dew by Estee Lauder. When my mother passed away, the one thing I really wanted to keep was a bottle of her cologne so I would never forget how beautiful she smelled. After hugging Martha, whom I love and adore completely, I felt like I was floating above the room taking in all the wonderful joy and feeling a special warmth inside of me letting me know that the goodness my mother brought into this world was still here all around me. And now I knew her goodness would always remain because now it was connected to the eternal goodness that would flow forth forever in the beautiful life of Torah I shared together with so many special people. And thanks to Mutti Hershkowitz's Bar Mitzvah Celebration, our wonderful friends the Hershkowitzs and the Stocks, and the fact that once again my connection with Mount Sinai had come shining through, my mother's Tenth Yahrzeit was truly extra special.