Dedication as sanctity, aka thoughts on “Mama, L’chaim!” (USA, 2009, 5 min)

picture from Mama, L'chaim!

Mama, L’chaim! is a 5 minutes long short film from 2009, made available online on YouTube by JFI (Jewish Film Institute). Here is my page about the film with synopsis. You may want to watch the film first, at the end of this post, as my insight below contains spoilers. 

Service of God can take up many forms. The most holy in my eyes is the type when you serve God through helping other humans. This is exactly what Chaim, a does in this short film brilliantly. In the first minute of te five minutes long short he introduces his 90something mother as ”This is my mother, this is my daughter.” It is a joke with several layers. First of all he does take care of his mother just like a parent would do, including making sure her physical needs are met. She lost her parents and lots of other relatives during the Holocaust. There is no mention of whether Chaim has any kids so in a tragic sense this tiny family represents all the generations that’s left from the Lubelskis. They are everything to each other.

Chaim’s dedication to her mother is amazing and if I’d be more religious I would call it holy. It is the main message of the movie. It transpires his faith and her joie de vivre, as these quotes from the film attest:

“I don’t have a life any more and I don’t care. I had a life. […] My mother is my life right and hopefully forever. […] My mission is to be there for my parents.”

It is such a pleasure to watch two people full of life and humor, despite what life and the Nazis smite them with. I suspect though that the extreme positive ambiance of the movie has to do with its editing. It is hard to believe that the movie makers didn’t have footage where this mother-son pair was less radiantly happy. Nevertheless I appreciate the positive outlook they emanated.

Let me close with the message what the movie closed with:

Like his name, Chaim stands for life. With faith and humor he accepts his fate and never gives up hope. Life goes on. L’Chaim!

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