She Saved Her Best for Last
She'd been raised to despise them, and despise them she did
The Orthodox, be they modern or old-fashioned, and the Chassidim
She'd grown up loathing their Sabbath and their dietary restrictions
Their clinging to hoary customs and rites, like ritual circumcision
She was enlightened and educated, cultured, sophisticated, so unlike them
She had a college degree, a home in the suburbs, wore nice skirts with a hem
So it was like a stab in the back when her firstborn son announced
That the faith of his forefathers he was simply not going to renounce
And as he delved deeper into the Holy Books with each passing day
She bemoaned and bewailed his predilection to learn Talmud and pray
Turning away from the prospect of respectable profession, of solid success
To pursue a life of righteous sanctity, religiosity, of ill-fitting dress ...
To make a long story dramatic, her son became quite the religious fanatic
And she despised him for it, in a manner knee-jerk, automatic
Until he promised never again to mention to her the slightest thing Jewish
While she, for her part, would stop behaving impossibly shrewish ...
They maintained this uneasy truce for decades on end
Enabling them to spend time together as friends
Till one day he got a call that she was near the end of the line
So he rushed out to be with her for the very last time
Body withered, she lay pale and drawn, her voice almost gone
The room was deathly hot, against a winter's Friday afternoon
As she nodded off fitfully, he realized that he'd have to leave soon
Leaving her with her caretaker Sabbath night through the emergence
of Saturday evening's stars and moon
Her poor stomach was blocked; she couldn't eat or drink a thing
Her only sustenance, ice chips, which her caretaker would bring
He stood there, pondering her hospital room ---
When from his mouth tumbled these words (Would they seal his doom?)
"Why, Mom, the laws of Sabbath you can keep; it'll do you good."
Though as soon as he'd said them, his heart turned to wood
"What have I done?!" he thought. 'Twas his Mom's dying day!
Upon his return Saturday night, there'd surely be hell to pay ...
After the Sabbath he tiptoed into her room, queasy with trepidation
Braced for the worst, anticipating her imminent imprecations ---
But she turned toward him slowly, a warm glow, a shine on her face
Proudly told him, "I kept the Sabbath!" ~ then departed the human race
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Copyright © Gershon Wolf | Year Posted 2018