I was honored when the Rebbetzin from our shul (synagogue) called to ask if she could come visit me.
The Rabbi of our shul is a soft spoken, gentle, and religiously conservative man. His wife, the Rebbetzin, is also quiet and reserved. She intimidates me. I am not sure why.
One Rosh HaShanah, I felt her looking at me and my girls. Afterwards, she approached me to tell me how nicely my daughters sang during davening (praying), and what a pleasure it was to daven with them. I had interpreted her glances as disapproval of our singing. I was so wrong.
I do not know either of them well. I know (at least, I think I know, never having had the nerve to talk with either of them about this) that they would both disapprove of my liberal, feminist approach to Torah. I do not even ask the shul to announce our women's megillah reading on Purim, lest the Rabbi speak out against it.
In so many ways, I feel that we are not really from the same world.
Yet, we share something profoundly deep, that brings our worlds so very close together. We all know what it is like to live with cancer.
The Rabbi and Rebbetzin lost a child to cancer.
They know all about what I am going through, without my having to tell them anything.
That said, they might not have realized that I have been dealing with cancer the whole time I am living here. After all, I looked healthy. Only this summer did I lose my hair (including part of my eyebrows), giving me "the look" of someone with cancer.
So, I imagine the awareness that I am still dealing with cancer prompted the Rebbetzin's visit. I appreciated her initiative.
I warned her that my home is a major disaster zone, but she was totally cool about it.
It was a really nice visit. We talked about where I am at with the cancer, about my kids, and my background. The time flew by.
As she moved to get up, I realized that I had done most of the talking. The Rebbetzin had mainly asked questions. She seemed so interested in my stories, I just kept talking.
I would have liked to learn more about her as well.
I only had the pleasure of attending one of her shiurim (classes), before I stopped attending the Shabbat afternoon round-robin shiurim for women on a regular basis. It was an impressive shiur, well structured, and interesting.
I know that I could learn from her. I would love to ask her questions too.
I hope she will take the time to visit again.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,