In Memoriam: My Mother’s Glasses

10 Nov 2014
Rebbitzen Peggy Weiss with her granddaughter.

My mother, Rebbetzin Peggy Weiss, passed away two days before Yom Kippur. While still in shock at her sudden passing, I was forced to make arrangements for our immediate trip to Eretz Yisrael for her kevurah. Having rushed into my parents’ house after receiving the horrible news, I had forgotten to bring my reading glasses with me. I found a pair of my mother’s glasses (with roughly the same magnification that I use) in the kitchen, and, with my father’s permission, I wore them to look up information and dial phone numbers. I continued to use those glasses to say tehilim at the cemetery and to daven on Yom Kippur.

To this day, I continue wearing my mother’s glasses. At some point I came to realize that the glasses provide me some nechama during this emotionally painful time. I love the feeling of having something so personal of my mother’s – something that she wore on her face – now resting on my face. Somehow it’s as if I am still connected to my mother, whom I miss dearly, through her glasses.

Of course the symbolism of my mother’s glasses isn’t lost on me. Just as glasses clarify blurry words on a page, my mother had always shown me the clear path in this uncertain world. She taught me to love learning Torah; to realize the power of tefilah; to appreciate the beauty of Shabbos; to support our homeland, Eretz Yisrael; to treat all people with respect and kindness; to be an active member of klal Yisrael; and to live my life in a way that would make a kiddush HaShem.

But my mother’s glasses hold an even deeper significance for me. They are a physical reminder that I should try to view the world through her eyes:

– My mother was a woman of fierce bitachon. She never questioned the Ribono shel Olam, knowing that everything that happens, no matter how difficult for us to understand, is part of His divine plan.
– My mother was a trailblazer who defied stereotypes by becoming the first female regional director of NCSY. As long as it was within the confines of Halacha, my mother never let being a woman hold her back.

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