It was my first Shabbat in Jerusalem. The Shabbat table was decoratively set. The air, both inside and out, was freezing, and remnants of the previous day’s snowfall dusted the hills of Jerusalem. The guests gathered around the table, joyfully singing Shalom Aleichem in unison. And, as we began to sing Aishet Chayil, I scanned the room, taking notice of each guest, until my eyes fell upon the woman sitting to my left. She had flawless skin, the color of caramel, and a smile, which brightened the lives of everyone surrounding her. Beyond her beauty, she exuded peace, warmth and tranquility. What I didn’t realize then, as we sang together, was that I was sitting next to the epitome of an Aishet Chayil. I was sitting next to Lily Namdar, and, indeed, “far beyond pearls [wa]s her value.”
One week after this Shabbat meal, I met with a kabbalistic rabbi to receive a bracha before returning to the states. He gave me the bracha that, once in Israel, I would be blessed with countless friends, some of which would be, to me, like family and that I would find, among other thing, great happiness. Six months later, I made aliyah, and his bracha was fulfilled, to the credit of Lily, my angel. She welcomed me into her home with every Shabbat meal she hosted. She introduced me to her friends, who, soon, became my own. “She open[ed] her mouth with wisdom, and a lesson of kindness [wa]s on her tongue.” Through Lily’s warmth, kindness and generosity, G-d blessed me with happiness and with family in the land of Israel.
Lily, has, no doubt, been an angel to many of us in the community. She has been there to hold our hands during times of sadness and to dance with us in times of joy. She has shared her life, her friends, her home, her heart, and in my case, her previous boyfriends. 🙂 Her giving character, cheerful spirit and gentle soul have made each of us, who have come to know her well, heightened and more fulfilled individuals.
On Sunday, Lily is leaving Israel to begin the next chapter of her life. While we are all saddened by her departure, I am confident that, in her pursuit of happiness, she will be blessed with success, a beautiful family of her own and many Shabbatot, where Aishet Chayil is sung in her honor. Lily, my princess, I will miss you! Thank you for being my little Israeli angel.