| Shul with a View |

You’re Speaking My Language

The father realized that his nine-year-old daughter was not robotically mimicking the motions taught to her by her morah. His daughter fully understood every word.


It was Seder night.

The youngest in the family, Chizkiyahu, had just opened the door for Shefoch Chamasecha and the fourth cup was poured. All the children were gathered around the table in their modest home, everyone was satiated from the delicious meal their mother had prepared, and now it was time to sit back and sing Hallel to Hashem.

As his children began the sweet songs of Dovid Hamelech, Reb Meir took a moment to scan the room. Seeing his children singing praises of gratitude to Hashem, he felt himself overflowing with feelings of thanks toward the One Who redeems us.

Reb Meir lovingly remembered his childhood home and the Sedorim of his youth, and the presence of his paternal grandparents and his maternal grandfather at the family Sedorim. He particularly felt the absence of his beloved paternal grandmother, lovingly referred to as Bubby.

Four decades earlier, he had become her first grandchild, and he learned the importance of family from her. Now he fondly recalled Bubby’s shining face when she reveled in her matriarchal role while basking in the joy of being surrounded by her family.

Now, he, too, was surrounded by his own family.

Memories of his time spent as a bochur learning in Ponevezh and visiting with Rav Chaim Kanievsky on Fridays danced in his mind.

Suddenly, he was shaken back to the present.

The children had just begun to sing, “Ahavti ki yishma Hashem es koli — I love Hashem as He hears my calling to Him,” and his eyes focused on nine-year-old Bat-Sheva.

As she sang the word “Ahavti,” he noticed she was hugging herself as a sign of love.

And when she said, “Ki hitah azno li — He inclined His ear to me,” he saw her bend her ear, motioning the meaning of the words metaphorically.

When they reached the words, “Es’halech lifnei Hashem — I will walk before Hashem,” she began to move her feet in a walking motion.

Obviously, her morah had taught the girls the proper “motions” for this paragraph of Hallel.

Yet suddenly, something much more profound filled his neshamah, and left him speechless in his gratitude to Hashem. The father realized that his nine-year-old daughter was not robotically mimicking the motions taught to her by her morah.

His daughter fully understood every word.

The epiphany was startling and profound; his nine-year-old daughter was not reading a foreign language. Bat-Sheva’s mother tongue is Hebrew, and no one had to translate the words to her. When she said Ahavti Hashem, she was using the same words she uses to say, “I love you” daily to her parents.

As he sat with his children at the Seder table, Reb Meir realized that more than just location had changed from his childhood home to where he was today.

His children did not need their rebbi or morah to translate and taitsh Hallel for them.

Here in his home in the Old City of Yerushalayim, just a few hundred feet from the future Beis Hamikdash, his children spoke the same words, used the same expressions, and utilized the same language as Dovid Hamelech.

Bat-Sheva spoke the same language as Dovid Hamelech.

His children’s mother tongue was Dovid Hamelech’s mother tongue!

Reb Meir shed a tear of gratitude as he realized the greatness of the moment.

How do I know that?

Because those same tears of gratitude came running down my face.

For Meir is my son, and Bat-Sheva is my granddaughter.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha, Issue 961)

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