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Literature and Poetry/

Chaim Nachman Bialik

My Mother of Blessed Memory

Told by the Righteous Rabbi of Vilednik of blessed memory

My mother of blessed memory, was an ultimate righteous woman and as a widow – a dire pauper.

And it was Friday, the sun glowing on the treetops-

And her house had no candles and no meal was prepared.

She searched and miraculously found, two coins-

"either bread or candles – she deliberated,

She rushed and returned and her thin hand held her sacred parcel: two candles for the blessing.

Seven stars in heaven and the night of Shabbat – my mother – candles had satisfied her eyes.

Shall G-d set His Holy Shabbat? Shall he decide what  a woman does?

May his name be blessed over two!

And may be bless over a clean tablecloth with no slice of Challah on it –

And she covered her head with the Shabbat kerchief, And she changed her dress and prepared herself for G-d and the Holy Shabbat.

And as she lit the candles, she could not restrain herself, being bitter and her heart boiling over, and the righteous woman cried, and a tear of her wrinkled cheek fell and put out one of the candles.

So the Shabbat stood there ashamed with one of her eyes blinded –

The woman cried out in distress:

"Shall you scorn the gift of a widow? If your maid servant has sinned what is the transgression of the Shabbat?

Why have you pecked her eye?" And as she stood with closed eyes, covering them with her hands, distancing from the flame, her shoulders and kerchief shook in the choke of her sobs and in the heat of prayer.

The depth of her heart bewailed, mothers and cherubs sobbed from her throat.

The heavenly ear did not listen. No longer did honorable throne see

As her soul was wrapped in her misery.

And then my righteous mother dropped one more burning tear, fragments of a fiery flame,

And is it fell, the light in the house had doubled since the extinguished flame rekindled.

My mother almost opened her fuzzy eyes and beheld: The 'light of the seven days has shone there'.

Since the omnipresence had kissed over them – May the merit the righteous woman prevail over us and over all of Israel.

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