The Nakedness of my Mother
This is the verse that sticks with me from last week’s Torah reading: The nakedness of your father and the nakedness of your mother you shall not uncover. She is your mother; you must not uncover her nakedness. Leviticus 18:7
Instinctively, I know that this prohibition and the following prohibitions listed in the weekly portion are related to sexual transgressions. What I couldn’t shake, however, was the image of Mom—confused, fragile—when she tried to take a shower in my bathroom. She let me in to the bathroom to help her because she trusted me. I had the feeling that I shouldn’t be seeing her like that. I also had the realization that at that moment, I was her best guide and confidant.
It is hard to watch your parent become child-like in their inability to care for themselves either physically or mentally. When my husband’s father contracted Shy-Drager’s Syndrome, he remained mentally acute long after is body gave out, much like someone with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Jeff would come home from college to care for his dad in the most intimate of ways.
As Jeff suggests, we must overcome that which is forbidden in order to fulfill the moral imperative of caring for and affording our parents the love and honor they deserve, particularly in their most vulnerable moments.
I am blessed to live near enough to my parents to visit on a regular basis. Today was so enjoyable. We stopped for coffee (and croissants) at an outdoor café overlooking the Mediterranean. We ate a simple lunch together in their home, told jokes, and laughed over silly things. When they were ready for their afternoon nap, they took me to the bus and kissed me goodbye. Two hours later, Mom didn’t remember that I’d been to visit; when I called to tell them I was home, she invited me to come relax with them. I’ll be back next week, I assured her.
Now that the hot weather has started—for real this time—here’s a recipe for lentil salad that is perfect for a summer afternoon.
Orange Lentil Salad
There is a sweetness and a tang to this salad created by using a fresh orange for both juice and zest. And the color is awesome.
1 cup orange lentils
2 cups water
3½ Tbsp olive oil
½ to 1 red onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
¼ cup parsley chopped
1 orange for juice and zest
Salt and pepper to taste
Toss lentils in small pot with ½ Tbsp oil. Add water. Bring to a boil then simmer until lentils cook through, approximately 30 minutes. In a frying pan, sauté onion and carrots in 1 Tbsp olive oil until carrots are soft. Add onions and carrots, parsley (reserving a little for a garnish on top), salt and pepper to lentils. In a separate bowl, grate orange rind for zest, then juice orange and whisk with remaining oil to create a dressing. Pour on lentils and toss gently. Refrigerate until serving.