Sori's Infectious Smile!

Thursday, 12 May, 2022 - 7:44 pm

On Sunday I was Facetiming with my dad while he visited his older sister Sori in the Israeli city of Bnei Brak. 24 hours later, his beloved sister, just a year older than him, passed away while eating dinner. Sori was a special aunt, who, together with her husband Chaim, welcomed me warmly into her home countless times. She always greeted me with a smile, making me feel at home, and never once, even when popping in unannounced, made me feel like I was a burden. Sori and her family are Biala Chassidim, we are Lubavitchers; never did that become a point of contention or even debate, we are family, we are blood, we are one.

In this week’s Torah portion, Emor, we read about the cycle of biblical holidays including Sukkos. Regarding Sukkos, the Festival of Booths, it says “and you shall rejoice before the Eternal, your God, for a seven-day period”. While joy is the Jewish way of life, in the words of the Psalmist “Serve Hashem with Joy”, there are times when we are to increase that joy, making it more palpable and noticeable both internally and externally. Sometimes we dance because we are happy, while at other times we dance to make us happy; on Sukkos we must do things that increase and stimulate our Simcha, our joy.

Sori lived with Sukkos ideology all year long. No, her life wasn’t perfect, and she certainly had her fair share of challenges and hiccups, but her zest for life, her love for family, her faith in G-d, and her contagious smile always reminded me that happiness isn’t something attained because of “things” or “statuses”, it comes from within. I didn’t speak to Sori often, we lived in two different worlds and very distant time zones, but she was an aunt who taught me so much and who always had a spot for me in her heart and her three-bedroom apartment in Bnei Brak.

Being happy never goes out of style!

May G-d guard our brethren in Israel and the world over from harm and send us Mashiach speedily. May G-d protect the armed forces of Israel and the United States wherever they may be. Shabbat Shalom! Chazak!!! L'Chaim!!!

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