We are still trembling with shock after hearing of the
death of a true ben aliya, Eliyohu Rotman, 17-year-old
son of our dear writer, Risa Rotman, who died on a bike
sortie bein hasedorim. We wish to share our feelings
with the readers, and pray . . .
Dear, dear, dear Risa,
I have come this morning to comfort, to console, knowing that
it is an impossible task — at this point. It is still
raw, so aching, so terrible to contemplate. I know that
coming to you, I will be unable to speak. I will start to
cry, so with tears in my eyes and in my heart right now, I
will say what I can, something for you to grasp on to,
something you can hold.
Risa — you are our Hashgochoh Protis lady par
excellence! Isn't that how I got to know you first, with your
beautiful true story (parshas Vayechi) debut of how to
look at life and see Hashem's finger, His hand, His blueprint
in all the events of our lives!
When I first heard, I couldn't believe it. You, of all
people, who had taken the trouble two weeks ago [parshas
Korach] to warn people about riding bikes and safety and
watching out for their children! And then, I said, "But of
course. That's exactly how it had to be. Hashem plucked this
beautiful flower from its earthly roots, from a hothouse of
love, care, striving and so much more. But He did it with
finesse, as it were, with a heading, an introduction in bold
lettering, and you are the one who provided the
It must have struck you this way, too. Not only was Eli
chosen, hand-picked, but so were you.
So what are you going to do about it? How are you going to
absorb this difficult lesson?
Let me tell you how it looks, fifteen years in the future.
The ache is there, every day I think, but it has been dulled
by time, only to be rubbed raw every once in a while, like
for me, yesterday. But I have gained. I have gained insights
into prayer, as you will. I have gained a very strong bond
with Hashem and know that He is there, at my side, watching
me, guiding me, providing all kinds of opportunities to live
my life for my lost son, as well.
I think you will find huge reserves of strength and faith to
live a deeper life, to see every single day as a treasure to
be filled with content. You will make time count much more
and many things will seem trivial in contrast. And this is
for the best.
Why do they say 20-20 vision? You will have 1-on-1 vision!
You will see things so much more clearly, like a person who
saw black and white all his life and was suddenly given a
prism of beautiful colors whose names he didn't even know.
You will see ultraviolet in your new world, and infrared, and
with your beautiful talent and your new knowing heart, you
will be able to help others see, too.
You will surely spread yourself out and use all of your
talents, will shower that much more love upon your children
and your surroundings with a new intensity and fervor. You
may decide, eventually (not yet), to focus on one special
project or endeavor. But for sure, you will see special
opportunities come your way, and you will take them by the
hand and welcome them, for you will be able to fill your days
to the brim.
You will be constantly thinking and feeling and doing and
living on a different plane, suspended a bit off the ground,
sometimes higher than usual, and there will be an exquisite
bliss, every once in a while, knowing that you have made
Hashem happy in this way or that, and given more power to
your dear son who can no longer carry on for Him here.
Fifteen years later, I am sure you will understand that if it
happened that way, it was for the best, and you will accept
it on a different level. Every day. You will be getting
closer to Him — and to him.
May your tears, and mine, and all of Klal Yisroel's
tears be gathered in Hashem's reservoir and soften those
difficult times for us down here who don't understand . .