I’m Standing On HER Shoulders

I’m Standing On HER Shoulders

Last week, I was sitting in the Kiev airport, waiting for my connecting flight back to Israel, when I heard a Yiddish-accented murmuring (full of “oi’s” and “suff’s”) awakening within me.

I suspected maybe I was hearing the voices of souls, if there is such a thing. Of my great and great-great and great-great-great (and on, and on) grandmothers who lived their lives not so far from where I was sitting.

I know almost nothing about those women, I realized.
But their DNA flows through my blood.
Pumping my heart, keeping me alive.
And making me, to a certain extent, who I am.

So I sat there in the Kiev Airport, and wondered…
Were they educated?
Were they beautiful?
Were they down-to-earth simple?
Were they deep?
Were they poverty-stricken?
Were they sickly?
Were they happy with their lives?
Deep down, were they like me, or totally not?

Did they love reading?
Did they love sewing?
Did they love taking long walks along the river by their village?
Did they love going to shul?
Did they love spending time with their kids?
Did they love cooking?

Did they yearn to feel close to Hashem?
Did they yearn to grow and learn and become better at whatever they dreamed to become better at?

If I met them, would I feel an instant connection? Or, in reality, would I not be able to relate to them at all?

The only thing I do know for sure, I realized, about my great, great-great, great-great-great (and on, and on) grandmothers is that they were Jewish women whose spent their lives playing harmony to the Jewish calendar and traditions.

Jewish mothers living Jewish lives, like me.

I once heard of a woman’s dream that reminded me of my mysterious ancestors…This woman shared:

“I once dreamt I felt someone patting my foot in encouragement.
“I looked down and saw that I was standing on the shoulders of an older woman who was steadying my ankles and smiling up at me.
“I said to her, ‘No no, come stand on my shoulders, for you are old and I am young.’
“‘No, no’ she insisted, ‘this is the way it is supposed to be.’
“I saw that she stood on the shoulders of a woman far older than she, who stood on the shoulders of a woman even older, who stood on the shoulders of a woman in robes, who stood on the shoulders of another soul, who stood on the shoulders…”

A mountain of Jewish mothers underneath our feet.
Holding our ankles and smiling up at us.
Those mothers holding this mother.
Every day of our lives.


  1. Hadassah Aber


  2. Wow, its a very powerful petspective

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