Mesirat Nefesh

I haven't written anything since the funeral last week. I just wanted to share something about Judy (may her memory be a blessing) that I found out at the funeral service.

I always knew that she wanted to pursue an acting career, that she had been accepted to and enrolled in NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for that purpose, and that she had left after one year. But I never knew why, until last week. Her father (my maternal grandfather), may he rest in peace, got sick with cancer when she was a freshman. She left school to help take care of him and her family. In other words, she gave up her dream in order to help others.

This is an amazing example of the Jewish concept of “Mesirat Nefesh”, or “self-sacrifice”. I couldn't find a nice definition of it anywhere, but the general idea is that you put your own needs and wants on hold in order to fulfill the needs of others (or God).

This is also typical of my aunt – she was always an amazing hostess for my family and myself when we went to her house every Thanksgiving weekend, and she even hosted Thanksgiving this past year – less than two weeks before she passed away – despite her advanced illness. And even then, she told me that I was welcome to stay over whenever I wanted, if I ever needed to get away from the New York/New Jersey area (an offer she had repeated many times).

Also, I really appreciate all the support and sympathy that I've been getting from my friends. I am a bit surprised, though, that no one left any comments for that post, and I'm not quite sure what that means. Does it mean no one is reading, or that the people who are reading all know me in person anyway and have chosen to talk to me directly? Anyway, I usually don't do this, but even if you talked to me personally, I'd appreciate if you wrote something short for my aunt in the comments section. I don't know why this is bothering me, but it is…

Anyway, I'll miss my aunt Judy – she was a wonderful woman, and she left behind three wonderful kids. May they take comfort in knowing how much their mom gave of herself to give comfort to others.

–YY

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