*Sivan Rahav-Meir/ The Daily Portion / A Chief Rabbi and a great father too*
Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
The three wonderful pictures you see below were sent to be by Merav Amor, the daughter of Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, of blessed memory. This evening will mark the 13th anniversary of his passing. Rabbi Eliyahu was the Chief Rabbi, the Rishon LeZion, a Torah sage and a Kabbalist, but Merav only wanted to speak about him as a father.
"He was the greatest father it was possible to be. He would draw my notebook covers for me. His handwriting was also exceptionally beautiful. He would sit together with me, sketch, and then we would color the covers together. He was the busiest person I ever met, yet he knew how to be completely there for me. He would put everything aside to sit patiently and unhurriedly with me.
He would also study all the religious subjects -- Torah, prophets, and halacha -- with me before exams. This was important to him. He would always ask me questions that were especially easy. I understand today that the main thing for him was that I should feel self-confident prior to the exam.
When I came home with a grade, he would say: "Mom gives you a reward for a 'very good,' and I give you a reward for anything less than a 'very good.'" He would praise me even for grades that were not so good. He wanted me to feel good and successful even if I did not receive a hundred percent.
On Shabbat afternoons I would give a quiz on the weekly Torah portion to the kids in the neighborhood and pass out prizes. On Friday, with the utmost seriousness, dad would help me prepare for the quiz. He composed the questions with me and even took an interest in the prizes that would be given. I have binders with all of these quizzes, written in his beautiful handwriting.
Remembering my father all the time, empowers me both as a mother and as a teacher. All of us are busy, the world is always calling us, but my father knew how to stop and be there solely for me, together with so much wisdom and understanding.