Judith and the Niggun

When Judith became very ill, her closest family members lived 2,000 miles away.

They weren’t available to care for her on a daily basis, or visit her as often as they wanted to. When Judith’s daughter did come to see her in the hospital, a rabbi from the Healing Center would join them. Judith’s daughter mentioned how her mother loved music. There was rarely a moment when Chopin or Mozart wasn’t playing over the radio.

One her last visit, Judith’s daughter watched her mother, her eyes closed and her breathing shallow. The Rabbi took the daughter’s hand while holding Judith’s hand and began singing a “niggun,” a wordless Jewish melody. Together, they were present with Judith.

Without words, they nourished Judith and lifted her spirit. When the singing stopped, Judith’s daughter noticed that there were many feet behind the closed curtain draped around her mother’s bed. She went to pull back the curtain and standing outside the perimeter of the curtain were the nurses, doctor, and attendants working that floor. Their tear-streaked faces said it all.