Esther suffered many years physically from a debilitating illness. But she reiterated what her Rabbi taught her: "One lives in their mind". These words afforded Esther much strength. Amazingly, while many others would be devastated at such a disease...as she was wheeled in her chair, and fed and clothed by her devoted nurses for so many years, she smiled. Not only smiled, but laughed. She displayed how life is not evaluated by our bodies, but by our minds. The Torah's message. What a lesson.
Esther also found the strength to write many essays even during the toughest of times. When she could no longer talk clearly, she would communicate by indicating letters on a sheet of paper, and trying to mouth her words. When we couldn't understand what she was trying to say after all that effort she made, she would again smile, but with a humorously-frustrated grin, as if saying, "Come on, are you thick!" Restricted to a wheelchair, she loved making others laugh! I don't recall her ever without a smile. I don't know how she did it.
Esther's struggles and values leave behind a number of clear messages:
- Don't fuss about our miniscule, petty problems; look at how she loved life, wisdom and people regardless of being crippled.
- Despite severe physical limitations, she enjoyed God's Torah. So with our healthy bodies, certainly we must find more time to learn.
- We don't have all the answers. But no injustice can be ascribed to God.
- Perhaps also, Esther realized what the Rabbis say: "This world is a vestibule prior to entering the banquet hall". Esther must have gained much perfection from learning such lessons quite early in life.
We are fortunate to have known Esther, and we are humbled to have been surpassed by her.