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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Living with Loss

Last week's Parshat Shavua (Torah/Bible Portion of the Week,) Shmini (Leviticus 9-11,) included the story of the death of Aaron's sons, Nadav and Avihu.

G-d punished them, the "sons of Aaron" with death for bringing a "strange fire." And then the Bible tells us that Aaron was told that he couldn't take "personal" time off to mourn his loss. Aaron held in, ignored his pain and did his job for the People.

Davka, the neighbor who gave us the shiur (lesson) on Shabbat was a bereaved father. He had volunteered at the last minute. We didn't expect him to speak of his personal feelings relating to parsha, but he did. He told us how his strong faith in G-d has helped him through the difficulties and pain. In Israel there are activities and organizations for bereaved families, and there he has met many others. He told us that the non-religious have much more difficulties living with the pain of knowing a child of theirs is dead.

This morning, as I was dovening (praying), a line in the Ashrei prayer, Psalm 145, suddenly shouted at me, and I read it again and again.

יח קָרוֹב יְהוָה, לְכָל-קֹרְאָיו-- לְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָאֻהוּ בֶאֱמֶת.

18 The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.

Those with strong faith will get even closer to G-d when times are difficult.

I thought of that, again, tonight when I paid a condolence call to the family of Yossi Shuker. Ronit always radiated such faith and optimism, regardless the difficulties Yossi's injuries and hospitalization caused. Their children look wonderful, bli eyin haraa. For me Ronit embodies that pasook, line, and actually the entire prayer.
ב בְּכָל-יוֹם אֲבָרְכֶךָּ; וַאֲהַלְלָה שִׁמְךָ, לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד.
2 Every day will I bless Thee; and I will praise Thy name for ever and ever.

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