I love that woman although I admit I have hardly said two words to her.
Who is she? The mother of my boss!
She visits our office regularly – sometimes a few times a week. The moment the door opens, we feel her beaming smile. She greets each one of us personally as if we are her friends. Interspersed with her "Shalom" is always a "Be'ezrat Hashem" – a prayer that all should go well for everyone. She utters each word carefully. Her blessings come from the heart.
She reminds me of Sophie Tucker's Yiddeshe Mamme (anyone remember?). Her clothing and long head covering do not belong to our generation. But her smile is fresh and tuned in to each of us.
She hobbles in on a stick, her free hand laden with packages. There is healthy food and lots of nosh. She wants to be sure that her son is not hungry in the office. It does not matter that he has five children and a wife who takes good care of him. For a mother, a child is always a child.
I never cease to be amazed at the respect and love my boss extends to her. It is not always pleasant or convenient. There are meetings, telephone calls, clients. But he sits her down, talks to her and thanks her profusely for her packages even when the previous supply isn’t yet finished. No matter what his age, a son is always a son.
Then – for two weeks she did not come. Our boss – her son – was at the front, fighting in Gaza. The atmosphere in the office was tense. Silently, we prayed for his welfare and the well being of all those soldiers down there with him. I knew that his mother was at home saying her Tehillim, praying every moment of the day for Hashem's protection. She was doing lots of good deeds, finding merits for her son. She is that kind of a person.
Today, my boss returned. He had 24 hours leave and he came into the office to catch up on the backlog that had accumulated. The atmosphere was strained. We knew what had been and we could only imagine what was still to be.
And then at noon, the door opened and his mother came in, just like always, hobbling on her stick, laden with packages, her face wreathed in smiles. She almost smothered us with her warm greetings and blessings. "Oh, how I missed this place," she announced with yearning. "I could not wait to return." We silently agreed and inside, we all prayed that next week, the war would be over and she would return to our office with her packages.
Yes, she is one of thousands of mothers – mothers young and old – who send off their sons with a hug and a blessing. They can never be sure they will see them again. But they can be sure of one thing – Hashem hears and stores the prayers of every Yiddeshe Mamme. It is written that there is a special place in Heaven for their tears and prayers - imploring on behalf of their children.
Hashem! Hashem! May those tears and prayers protect all the soldiers and bring them back home safely. May their tears of pleading turn to tears of joy and may all the mothers of Am Yisrael unite in one great song of Shir HaShirim to the Ribbono Shel Olom.