Glossary: Yahrzeit=Anniversary of a loved one’s death Shabbos=Sabbath Magen David=Star of David Shul=Synagogue Kaddish=Mourner’s prayer
My youthful, spirited “eighty something” cousin Paula, related to me on her mother’s side and my father’s, called to tell me a story about her father’s yahrzeit this past Shabbos. She knows that I’m all ears when it comes to family lore. The conversation began with her reporting that when she was about 11, her father went with his family to Palestine. In his absence, she collected rents from his apartment buildings in rundown areas of town. Upon his return, he presented her with a unique gold Magen David necklace, which she proudly wore around her neck for several years. At some point, many years back, she lost the treasured piece.
As she continued the tale, I knew where she was headed. Paula said that she was doing her usual scouting through the jewelry box on her dresser, picking which earrings and other pieces she would bedeck herself with as she was dressing for shul. On the morning of her father’s yahrzeit, she was headed to say kaddish. Suddenly, the lost Star of David popped up and practically landed in her hand. Why on this particular Shabbos did it appear after so many years missing, since on any other run of the mill day of the week, she regularly selects her jewelry from the same box?
She found the long lost necklace on the actual day of her father’s yahrzeit this year, which fell on the sixth day of Chanukah, Rosh Chodesh Tevet 5779/December 8, 2018. The amazing part is that her father has been gone since 1970, and the necklace hadn’t turned up in all these years.
These are the stories that spark a conversation and need to be handed down through the generations. When Paula got to shul she went straight to the rabbi for a discussion of the meaning of such a situation in our religion. “Was there a reason?” she asked. Listening to her tell about “the Star,” Paula said her rabbi clutched at his heart and said, “It happens” but, according to Paula, “he didn’t base too much on it.” It seems that Paula will just have to chalk this up as another miracle of Chanukah.