My mother was the person whom I most admired, respected, and loved. I wanted so much to be just like her – kind, warm, compassionate, caring about every single person she met, Jew or Gentile, who came to her for healing, as this was my mother’s profession. She was a midwife and a healer, answering the call morning, noon, and night to aid in giving life and preserving life.
So when I lost my mother at the age of 10 on the Death March from Transnistria, her words rung in my head and clung to my soul: “Live, Remember, Tell the World.”
It would have been so much easier to just give up, to succumb to the cold and the hunger, the fear and the sadness at having lost my entire family. I was alone in the world, feeling I had nothing to live for. After all, how does a 10 year old child have the mental sophistication and life experience to know that there can be a light at the end of the tunnel, that at some point all my pain – mental and physical – would be soothed and that I would experience G-d’s grace in ways I never imagined?
So what kept me going? How did I manage to survive one more day, and then another . . . . and then another? How did I manage to get an advanced education, marry, have 3 sons, and today count many grand children and great grand children while I dwell in Eretz Yisrael?
The answer is found in my mother’s words: “Live, Remember, Tell the World.”
Nothing else was bequeathed to me from my parents. I do not possess even one photograph of my mother’s beautiful kind face or my father’s gentle, intelligent facial expressions. All I have is memories of them . . .and the words ringing in my ears . . . . I hear my mother’s command and my mind’s eye still sees my father hunched over his holy books, studying them every chance he could.
This should be a lesson to all of us – the impression that we leave on our children through our words and deeds. No material possession will last as the examples we set for them.
This is why we are commanded to teach our children about our redemption from slavery, how G-d took us out “with a strong hand.” Even though this story is 3500 years old, we still maintain this tradition of teaching it to our children. Our connection to G-d, His loving kindness in making us into His holy nation, rings true every year as we take our place at the Seder Table.
I was only 9 years old when I sat at the Seder Table with my blessed parents for the very last time. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I would never share another seder with them. Nevertheless, the lessons they provided, the words with which my mother entreated me to “Live, Remember, Tell the World” are now given over to my children and their children and their children and all the young people of our generation so that we further Jewish continuity.
My blessing to all of you is that you should also “Live, Remember, and Tell the World” of G-d’s redemption of the Jewish people and His promise to us to make us into a great nation. Today we have the holy land of Eretz Yisrael back in our hands. May we all come to live here and join together in completing our holy mission as G-d’s chosen people.