Updated: Jun 26, 2020
I can't imagine the pain one must endure upon losing their father at a very young age.
Eleanor's grandparents arrived in Edmonton, AB from a little town near Oddessa, Ukraine (then Russia) to begin a fresh new life on the free shores of Canada.
Eleanor was born a couple dozen years later during the second world war. Sadly though, the very next day after she was born, her father o.b.m. was forced to leave for the army never to return home again.
The impact of a cherished fatherly connection in a child's life is simply immeasurable, making its absence a void so terribly difficult to fill.
Later her mother remarried to the son of the famous first Rabbi to Edmonton, Rabbi Hyman Goldstick.
Eleanor went on to become a very successful woman in so many areas, and eventually created a wonderful family of her own.
More than a half a century later, Eleanor discovered through DNA testing that she has an enormous family, with hundreds of cousin's and second cousin's and so on, spanning the entire globe.
"My test came out 99.9 percent Ashkenazi" she chuckled, as we went on to discuss her new found family connections, and the joy of being embraced by so many of them, so warmly.
All in addition to her many great immediate family members and friends.
One relative, believe it or not, successfully traced their family all the way back a few thousand years to Raamses, Egypt. Now that's a story for your Passover Seder!
Interestingly, during our fascinating discussion this week, I came to appreciate more deeply something profound that we all already know.
No matter what the circumstances are, each of our lives are filled with tremendous blessing.
The joy she exudes profoundly expresses how despite challenges in life one can choose to count their blessings, focus on the good, and find deeper meaning in life.
Since meeting Eleanor about six years ago, she has always been warmly welcomed in our ever growing Chabad Okanagan family.
Our priority at Chabad is to bring life, physical and spiritual vitality and energy, to our surroundings.
Purely and simply to lovingly be here for our fellow's every need, with sincere dedication, be it material or spiritual.
The value, depth, richness and joy of any particular Mitzvah is not always obviously apparent nor felt. When one does merit to experience it however, they often want to incorporate it in their life, and we'll help them learn more about it.
For more than half a century, Eleanor didn't have a mezuzah on her door. It simply wasn't on her top priority list.
We've offered her the opportunity to take a Mezuzah in the past, should she wish to do so. It just didn't seem valuable or vital for her at the time.
Once, while visiting a dear aunt, Eleanor noted her Aunt's pride and pleasure from the beautiful Mezuzah that adorned her front door.
Shortly thereafter, she saw a post on social media stating that Chabad Okanagan has Mezuzahs available.
We were eager to enhance protection and beautification of local Jewish homes, by fulfilling this great Mitzvah.
Although she showed interest this time, it still didn't materialize.
Until last week.
Fraidy posted that we got 30 new Mezuzahs and that we are eager to find them homes and get them installed.
We decided to message her one more time.
Suddenly, somewhere in Eleanor's soul there was a voice that said she was ready.
"When can we come"? Fraidy asked.
"On Monday" she said.
Sure enough, three days ago, on Monday afternoon, along with Sarah and Rochel, I went to Eleanor's house to celebrate the placement of a Mezuzah on the front door of her home....
......for the very first time in her life!
Yep. Her very first Mezuzah.
She told me that seeing her aunt so animated about this Mitzvah made her contemplate its significance and why she doesn't have one.
After explaining some of the deeper meaning behind this awesome Mitzvah, she thanked us for the constant encouragement, and for the enlightenment of the richness that our heritage has to offer.
As we were walking out to return home, I heard a quiet voice say with a big smile "I finally got a Mezuzah. I finally got it. And it's just wonderful".