The Heavens Opened for RBG

19 Sep

I believe that the heavens opened on Friday night.

As we entered the holiday of Rosh Hashannah, the start of the new year, the days of Awe; and entered the holy day of Shabbat, the Sabbath, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, passed into the cosmos.  She left this world a better place for all women.  She fought the battles of women’s rights at a time when most women were treated as second class citizens.  She was a warrior for women.

In Judaism there is the belief that someone who dies on the Sabbath is a Tzadik, a righteous person.  Another belief says that a person who dies just as Rosh Hashannah begins is also a Tzadik, because the Lord waits for the very last minute of the year to take this person.  They are so needed on Earth, that their very time is counted to the minute.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died erev Shabbat and Rosh Hashannah.  The moments before these two holidays connverged.  But more so, she died on the 18 of the month.  For those who are Jewish, the number 18 has its own significance, as the two letters, Het and Yod together spell the word, Chai, which means life. Her life had such meaning to so many women and men who she helped.

 Ruth Bader Ginsburg had such a life.  She was the second woman to serve on the Supreme Court.  She spent her life battling for women’s rights and gender equality.  She never backed down.  She was a warrior.  She dissented.  Her great legal intelligence helped her seal many decisions as she could interpret the laws, which make her interpretation valid. She did not back down.

Earlier this year I joined a group of women from the Kansas City area to go on a virtual tour of the Notorious RBG Exhibit at the Illinois Holocaust Museum.  It was a wonderful experience learning about what this extraordinary woman had accomplished. I had to have both a I dissent pin and a t-shirt.  A t-shirt that I am proudly wearing now.

Earlier today, I went to services for Rosh Hashannah. Our shul has been having services for a few months now.  There are rules in place to keep us safe. We all wore masks.  The service was shorterned.  The doors were opened for air circulation.   We sat phsycially distanced. We were not to sing, only the hazzan. No children under 12 were to be present.  But still the soul of prayer was there.

When the Unetanneh Tokef was chanted by the Hazzan, I thought of Justice Ginsburg, as these words were ingrained in my being:

“Let us now relate the power of this day’s holiness, for it is awesome and frightening. On it Your Kingship will be exalted; Your throne will be firmed with kindness and You will sit upon it in truth. It is true that You alone are the One Who judges, proves, knows, and bears witness; Who writes and seals, Who counts and Who calculates. You will remember all that was forgotten. You will open the Book of Remembrances — it will read itself – and each person’s signature is there. And the great shofar will be sounded and a still, thin voice will be heard. Angels will be frenzied, a trembling and terror will seize them — and they will say, ‘Behold, it is the Day of Judgment, to muster the heavenly host for judgment!’ — for even they are not guiltless in Your eyes in judgment.”

The Holy One knows the goodness of Justice Ginsburg.  Her death comes at the end of a horrible year.  But the Jewish New Year started after her death.  A new year is here.  I have faith.

As I said the Kaddish, the prayer for the dead, which I say every Rosh Hashannah for my family who perished in the Shoah, I also said Kaddish for Justice Ginsburg.

May her name and memory be for a blessing. May her soul be bound up in the bond of Eternal Life. May her family be comforted with the mourners of Zion. Her memory will not end. We will all remember and work to continue the example of the Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Yes, I believe the heavens opened last night to claim the astounding, amazing soul– neshumah –of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Tzadik, a good and righteous woman, Yita Ruchel.

Now we among the living must continue her work. Vote for women, vote in memory of a women’s warrior. Vote in the name of Justice Ginsburg.

8 Responses to “The Heavens Opened for RBG”

  1. Sherry September 19, 2020 at 4:37 pm #

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died. pancreatic cancer. Rosh Hashanah, September 18, 2020. U.S. Supreme Court. Legacy of fighting for Justice. R.I. P. Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

  2. Amy September 20, 2020 at 2:47 pm #

    As I wrote on Facebook, I love this piece. May I link to it on my own post when I publish something this week?

    • zicharon September 20, 2020 at 2:50 pm #

      Yes of course you can. And thank you. I was so sad to hear to news of her death, I just had words flowing from me. L Shana Tova!

      • Amy September 20, 2020 at 2:53 pm #

        I was shocked, even though I knew eventually she would die. She was just so strong and such a force of nature. And I am so sad. I am writing to sort out all those emotions. Thanks, Ellen.

      • zicharon September 20, 2020 at 2:56 pm #

        I write whenever I am emotional. It is my way to focus. Best wishes as you process!

  3. Sylvia LaVine September 21, 2020 at 3:55 am #

    Ellen,
    I so appreciate your piece, dedicated to this amazing woman! Her legacy will continue to influence and benefit so many. For what we hope will be —forever.

    With fervent wishes for a Healthy New Year,
    Sylvia LaVine
    Jerusalem

    • zicharon September 21, 2020 at 6:26 am #

      Thank you Sylvia. I too hope that her influence remains and her dissenting opinions eventually become the rules of the law. Stay well! A healthy and sweet year!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933-2020 | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey - September 21, 2020

    […] other bloggers wrote posts about Ginsburg that touched me. I recommend them both. You can find them here (“The Heavens Opened for RBG” at Zicharanot), discussing another personal reaction to […]

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