Ever since I was a pre-teen, people told me I was so much like my mother. I looked like her. I talked like her. I laughed like her. I was nice like her.
I always greeted these comments with a mixture of pride as well as abashment. I was honored to resemble my mother, whom I looked up to so much. But I was also hopeful that there were parts of me that were my own too.
I played sports and was more outgoing, but until my early twenties these two were the only characteristics that I felt differentiated us (along with our coloring and facial features—somehow our mannerisms were/are so similar that even without various physical traits matching, we “look so much alike!”).
Beginning to type up my mother’s thoughts on Torah teachings this past week, I thought about how it’s not black and white—not surprisingly, much of my adulthood has been honing my skills on recognizing gray—how I can be a lot like my mom AND very much my own person.
In typing up my mother’s dvar Torahs from previous years, I am not writing dvar Torahs (I did do that in my teens and early twenties—very much following in her footsteps). Rather I am using my familiarity with and love for my mother and her learnedness to help perpetuate her insights so she can share them with friends, community members, and even more importantly, her own children and grandchildren.