Written by Leah Necha Dirnfeld
For about seven years after my husband and I made “aliyah” to the Holy Land of Israel in 1964, when I was 35, we didn’t make a visit to the United States. Then my mother-in-law became seriously ill. The family encouraged us to visit her in Williamsburg, Brooklyn where she lived with her sister who took care of her with great devotion.
Once in America, of course, I went to visit my own widowed mother, still living in our family home in Clifton, New Jersey.
As soon as I arrived at the front door of my mother’s home, as a follower of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and keeping Chabad “minhagim”, I began to take off the “mezuzos” from the door posts in order to bring them to Crown Heights, the Rebbe’s neighborhood, to have them checked by a reliable scribe.
I was immediately shocked to see that the mezuza on the door-post of the front door was placed upside down. I understood that my mother had instructed the non-Jew who had painted the interior of the house to remove the “mezuzos” before he began to paint the door posts. In his ignorance he replaced one upside down.
“Mother,” I cried out to her. “Do you know how dangerous it can be to have an upside down mezuza on a door – especially your front door!”
“Yes,” she said. “I know.”
Before I came to America I called my mother and told her I want to come to see her.
She then told me, “I have a plan to go on an automobile trip with a woman friend, but since you are coming I will cancel it.”
“My friend traveled without me and had a terrible accident. If I had been with her where I would have been sitting in the car, I would have been killed. My friend suffered no serious injury.”
With an upside down mezuza on her front door no wonder that my mother would have been in danger on a trip in a car.
But Baruch HaShem she didn’t go because I came to visit her and while I was in her home I made sure that the mezuzos were all kosher and properly placed.
My mother lived until 104.