“…one who runs from honor will have it pursue him.” – Talmud (Eruvin 13b)
This phrase came up a number of times last week as we clung to family following the tragic passing of my sister-in-law, Ahuva*, a”h. She was a tremendous woman, someone who loved Torah and mitzvos and strived to observe them in the best way possible. She went about her life quietly, without fanfare, though those who knew her recognized that she was a unique woman of stature. Through her nine children, one can see the love and attention she poured into them. In her amazingly organized home, one can see the thought and care she put into creating a warm and nurturing environment for her family to thrive.
She didn’t seek out honor, but after her death it certainly sought her. Many important people in her community and beyond came to pay their respects. Some drove for six hours just to express their condolences. I’ve had people contact me, telling me that even though they never met my sister-in-law, they felt very inspired by her story (which you can hear, in part, here, in the recording of the eulogies at her funeral).
Even though I wasn’t obligated to observe the laws of mourning as dictated by Jewish law, I felt touched by the process and awed by the wisdom in the halacha. The practice, from the funeral through the shiva was transformative, and listening to so many beautiful memories of Ahuva was healing.
There are so many things that are still swirling around in my head and heart, and I imagine it will take me some time to process, but one thing in particular jumps out at me right now. Continue reading