Is it true that love is blind? Doesn’t it hurt her anew every time she thinks of how her son rejected the world she chose?
As told to Rachel Newton
My brother slides his smartphone out of his pocket in a fluid motion and bends his head toward the screen.
He jerks up, alarmed at the horror in my whisper.
“What’s the matter, Raizy?”
I point my chin at the clock, trying not to alarm my mother. “It’s Yom Tov!”
Nachy throws a glance at the window, a blush crawling up his cheeks as he notes the darkened sky.
“I’m sorry, Raizy, I’m so, so sorry. I lost track of time. I would have never…” He’s so upset he can’t look at me.
It’s true. He would never touch muktzeh in our house on Shabbos, never use his phone in front of me on Yom Tov.
And yet he’ll walk out of here, leave my mother’s sick bed where I’ve been trying to keep her out of the emergency room, and drive the car parked outside to his home in the suburbs.
I look down at my mother then, counting her breaths subconsciously as I’ve been doing all week, and think of Yitzchak Avinu. Father of twins whom the world was not big enough to contain. The world saw black and white, pure and evil. One the symbol of innocence, the other epitomizing wickedness.
And yet Yitzchak never lost faith in his wayward son, always believed there was a path to his heart. Yitzchak, the olah temimah, poured all his love into a child everyone knew was predisposed to sin.
In no way is Nachy evil. Still, he went out into the fields. And my mother never stopped loving him, accepting him, respecting him.
I want to know how she does it. Is it true that love is blind? Doesn’t it hurt her anew every time she thinks of how her son rejected the world she chose?
Nachy bends close to kiss my mother goodbye, and we exchange looks, not knowing what the night will bring.
“Gut Yom Tov,” he tells me. “I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
I smile and wave and turn my head to the pale face on the pillow, heart aching.
Tell me your secret, Mommy.
I love Nachy dearly. He’s my brother. Still, would I have had the fortitude, the strength to look at a child I spent years inculcating Torah, chassidus and yiras Shamayim into, watch him leave it all behind — and still love him when he came home?
And submission. Strength in submission.
Mommy will smile tomorrow night as I wheel her into the succah. She’ll be flanked on one side by me and my husband in his shtreimel and corkscrew peyos, and on the other by Nachy and his sweet wife, hair in a simple bun, long skirt hiding leggings.
Mommy will look with pride at her family, her love for us shining equally at both sides of the table as my husband and Nachy sing the age-old words, “Azmin l’seudasi…”
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 760)
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