Thursday, March 05, 2009

2 Funerals & 2 Weddings

I had never been to a funeral of a family member before this past month. In 10 short days, this would all change as I attended the funerals of my two great aunts, two women I had been very close to. Losing one person you love is tough enough, but losing two in such a short period of time is extremely difficult to handle. Both Auntie Monica & Tante Amelie had been mainstays of my childhood in Ra'anana and important parts of my life since I returned to Israel in 2003. During these 10 days, the city of Ra'anana and my understanding of life changed drastically. Ra'anana will obviously never quite be the same, and life ... well, life will remain the same, just with a stronger realization that death is unfortunately an unavoidable part of our existence as we forge on along.

It's not easy to see motionless loved ones wrapped up in a talit (a prayer shawl). Tears flow, and you start thinking of their last words to you ... and then through gritted teeth, you silently whisper good bye. Despite the darkness of the new reality, I found myself eager to push through to the proverbial 'light at the end of the tunnel.' A day after the first funeral, and a few hours after the second one, I was at weddings - which to me symbolized that light. Despite the sadness I felt, I wanted to be at both weddings and celebrate in the happiness of the bride & groom. Although I didn't dance at either wedding, I enjoyed the excitement generated by each event. Yes, the pain was, and still is, there. The tears still accompany their memories, or photos, or videos ... but life, with an adjustment to the newly created void, must go on. I hope it doesn't come off like I'm slighting the memories of my great aunts, far from it. I just feel like when the lights of those we love is extinguised, we must 'be content' with the light we have from our other loved ones (be it our siblings, parents, spouses, children etc...) and continue to enjoy the time we have with them in this world.

If I have, as I assume, made little sense here, perhaps this little pearl from the Chofetz Chaim will sum up what I'm trying to put forth:

Rav Shmuel Dovid Walkin was with the Chaftez Chaim during some of the more horrific times of World War I. He vividly recalled how the Chafetz Chaim would lecture those who were in danger of becoming depressed by the terrible suffering that they experienced or witnessed.

He would say to them, "Why are you so fearful and devoid of hope? Chazal teaches that when Adam saw the first sunset, he said to himself, 'Woe that because of my failure, the world is about to return to chaos and confusion.' He spent the entire night crying together with Chava and it was only when he saw the gathering light of dawn that he realized that the sun's disappearance was a part of the natural order that G-d had decreed for the World ... We know that this night will not last forever. Light will soon come again, for such is the order that the Creator has set for this world."

(I first saw this in Rav Abraham Twerski's 'Twerski on Chumash', but this is quoted from Sefer Talelei Oros)

1 comment:

Penny said...

Avi this entry is very beautiful and extremely wise.