The Song of a Mother and Her Child

The Song of a Mother and Her Child

I spent this past Shabbat at my 9th-grade daughter’s high school for the annual parents’ Shabbaton.
One of the highlights of a beautiful Shabbat was at the end of 3rd meal, as the Sun fell beyond the horizon and all we mothers and daughters sat together in a gigantic circle to sing soulful end-of-Shabbos songs.
As we sang, in my heart, I was transported to a time long ago in a galaxy far, far away. When I was 19-years-old, not so much older than my daughter, and taking my first steps towards Jewish observance at Neve. Experiencing so many firsts– my first Rashi, my first netilat yedayim, my first blessing before eating, and, of course, my first wondrous Shabbos. Ahh, how I loooved Shabbos.
And one of the highlights of those wondrous first Shabboses was sitting with the other girls in the Neve cafeteria and singing soulful end-of-Shabbos songs from our NCSY benchers. My favorite song of all was Achenu: Achenu kol beit Yisrael. Our brothers, the whole house of Israel, who are given over to trouble or captivity, whether they abide on the sea or on the dry land. May God have mercy upon them….”
And yesterday, as the light crept into darkness outside the windows, the voice of one of Moriah’s 14-year-old classmates rang out: “Ach-ey-nu, Kol Beit Yisrael!” And I remembered myself singing that song in the Neve cafeteria at 19. 2 years before I first met my husband and many more years before I’d become a mother. And there I was yesterday, singing that same song, among so many girls singing with their eyes clenched, with all their hearts, as I did then and still do today.
And tears came to my eyes as I thought of how the words of the Acheynu prayer have been recited by Jews for thousands of years. And they still are today. And will continue to be, for as long as there are Jews walking the face of the earth.
I am part of that chain, I thought, linked to my daughter, passing on this tradition, link by link, generation by generation. A tradition that is infinitely greater than a single human being, transcending lifetimes and tying us to one another and to something infinitely beyond ourselves.

One comment

  1. Hadassah Aber

    Beautiful ❤️😍!

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