Y ou can’t argue with a goral.

A couple years after we married, my siblings drew lots to allocate some old silver items that had belonged to my great-uncle and aunt, Uncle Leib and Aunt Debra. This kind, elderly couple had been part of my early childhood, leaving vaguely pleasant memories of soft pats on my cheek and visits to the land of brewed teas and sponge cake.

Gentle souls, they shared a premise widespread in my grandmother’s family: If you were one of ours, everything you did was right. My parents stayed close to this couple as they aged, and we were taken on regular trips to the nursing home, where I watched games of Bingo and saw old age up close. Then we were taken along to the hospital.

Uncle Leib and Auntie Debra had no children, so his menorah, Kiddush cups, and worn seforim, and her lovely flowered china, passed to my family.

I wasn’t present when the lots were drawn, but I looked forward to seeing my inheritance during my next trip to my parents. When it was taken out, my husband and I were taken aback to see our new possession.

It was a generous-sized, genuine silver dish. A pretty piece, gently curved, with a wide filigree rim and a handle. It was the kind of dish my great-aunt would line with a doily and fill with chocolates and give to me to pass around after Sunday afternoon tea. But it was personalized — its center bore several lines of engraving: a dated inscription to Uncle Leib and Aunt Debra thanking them for years of devoted service to their shul.

It has someone else’s name on it. It’s unusable. We left the dish stored in my parents’ attic along with our other impractical wedding gifts and albums full of my old pictures.

Next visit, the dish came out again. We thought of trading it in at the silver store for something new and beautiful we would use each week. Surely a challah board or a set of tiny silver wine cups would be considered good use of a gift from an uncle and aunt? We would think of it as a present from them, I reasoned.

But as I rubbed my fingers over the small, engraved letters, I felt I couldn’t do it. How could we melt down one of the few tangible tributes to the memory of a lovely, sincere couple, their names barely pronounced upon this earth besides Yizkor and yahrtzeit remembrances from their nephews?

We could not bring ourselves to erase their names, so the dish lay wrapped in a dusty plastic, with a small torn piece of paper labeling it “Lot 1,” and another that bore my name, in my brother’s writing. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 572)