Mother’s Day Sermon Rabbi Dr. Moshe P. Weisblum May 12, 2007 24 Iyar 5767
Shabbat Shalom everyone,
We celebrate Mother's Day this weekend to show honor and respect to one of the most influential persons in our lives, our mothers and grandmothers. We have spent most of our formative years with our mothers and shared all joy and sorrows. Such is the greatness of our mothers that she always tries to make us feel happy even in times of distress. Let’s explore the concept of a mother, a timely topic since tomorrow is the holiday known as Mother’s Day. I’d like to wish all the mothers present - a fine day.
Does everybody know what the Hebrew date of Mother’s day is? What’s the answer? Well, some say it is every day. We know how seriously a mother takes her job; she works very hard and invests much time and energy in her family, especially her children and grandchildren.
Throughout history, we have applauded and recognized the importance of mothers. We begin with the world’s first mother, Eve, also known as Chava. Then came the four matriarchs in Judaism, the mothers of the Jewish people, Sara, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah. So much is written about their lives in the Torah, both the oral and written teachings, Biblical commentaries and even in contemporary literature such as the popular book, The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant, which I assumed many of you may have read or heard about. We can learn a great deal from these biblical role models andheroines.
In America, we too have many great mother figures. Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks and Golda Meir are good examples. Yesterday, like just about every Friday, I called my mother in Israel to wish her and my father Shabbat Shalom. My mother asks me the same question every week: how is everything and everyone? Are there any changes on the list of Misheberch? Once a year when I visit Israel usually during the summer, I carry the list of those who are ill and recited a prayer at the western wall in Jerusalem for them in our community, family members and friends for good health. My mother always asked for the copy of that list because once a week she traveled from Haifa to Jerusalem and dedicated a special time to pray in the Kotel for speedy recovery of the ill people in our community here. Every Friday she repeats the same question: what’s the good news? Do I need to pray for anyone? This is my mother in Israel that I love and admire very much. How incredible it is that my mother deeply cares for our synagogue and prayers with a sincere heart for our welfare. For this reason, at this time, I would like to dedicate the following poem by unknown writer to my mother and to all mothers:
Before I was myself you made me, me With love and patience, discipline and tears, Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,
Allowing me to sail upon my sea, Though well within the headlands of your fears. Before I was myself you made me, me
With dreams enough of what I was to be And hopes that would be sculpted by the years, Then bit by bit stepped back to set me free,
Relinquishing your powers gradually To let me shape myself among my peers. Before I was myself you made me, me,
For love inspires learning naturally: The mind assents to what the heart reveres. And so it was through love you made me, me By slowly stepping back to set me free.
What is a mother? A mother is someone who’s wonderful at listening and encouraging and making a positive difference. A mother is someone whose life is incredibly full of responsibilities and joys. People she loves – love her in return. Let’s face it, mothers loved being loved.
My dear friends, in the Jewish tradition we have a word for this; it is called "Derech Eretz" meaning respecting, honoring, helping and loving our parents. Whether they are still with us or they have gone to their eternal rest we are commended to show them devotion and make them happy.
Our hearts go out to those who are here and whose mothers are no longer present. We wish them strength.
May all the mothers here today find spiritual strength and wisdom in our maternal ancestors and derive much encouragement from those who came before us.
At this upcoming mothers day we pray that G-d will heal the hearts of the mothers who unfortunately this year will not hear their children’s voices. May G-d bless us with long years to be able to carry out the duties of motherhood with health, happiness and much nachas from our families and may they see the safe return of all their children who are in service or who travel around the world.
Today, Dr. Larry Block and Dr. Shirley Little, Kenneth and Vonnie Block, and Ronald Gittess will proudly honor the 100th birthday of their beloved parents, Albert and Ethel Block of blessed memory. Albert and Ethel Block were also the parents of the late Carol Gittess. They were well known dedicated people at Kneseth Israel for many years. We are grateful that their children are following their ways. It is a touching tribute by hosting a Kiddush in honor of their parents today, the day before Mother's Day and a month before Father's Day. What an extraordinary way to celebrate their birthdays when they are no longer among the living. We thank and appreciate the Block and Gittess families for sharing this exceptional event with our Kneseth Israel’s extended family. May the Almighty continue to bring much blessing to us not only on Mother’s Day but every day throughout the entire year.
At this time, I would like to call upon Kenneth block, the son of Albert and Ethel Block to share a few sentiments…