“In Case G-d Missed Something”

N

o woman ever did it the way Mama did—not my Serke, not my daughters nor other women in my mishpokhe (family).  Over these many years I also have seen it done over and over again, many hundreds of times, but not the way my Mama did it. 

I have seen some women have a very special laced kerchief that they used to cover their head like a shawl when bentshing likht (blsessing over the candles).  Some even used a fully sweeping motion as if they were an operatic singer taking a bow.  A few even did it in a sing-song manner.

Not my Mama—she used this time to have a conversation with Der Eybishter.  Naturally, each shabes (Sabbath) eve the conversation was different. 

Before the candles were lit and the blessings done, the requests were made. These ranged from deep pleading to mild requests.

Before getting to the task, Mama went through her entire week and noted all of the minor details.  When I asked her, “Why do you do it?”

Her reply was, “In case G-d missed something, so He should know.”

This conversation did not cover the terrible events or mention anything that would be noted in her later requests and pleas. 

Mama was very careful in her wording so that G-d would not think that she was exaggerating her request because this litany of words was saved for her pleas. 

Every possible compliment that one could imagine and every positive attribute was included in her personal talk with Him.

In a joking way much later in life, Mama once mentioned that she hoped G-d didn’t think that she was selfish, for she never asked for things for herself, only for her boys—her four sons.