Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

21 Adar I 5765 - March 2, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Home and Family

Chessed Shel Emess

I paid a shiva visit last month to the daughter of my good childhood friend. As often is the case with exceptional people, I went away consoled, rather than having consoled. Consoled, because I am also part of that `club' of bereaved parents, who, I am sure will never be the same afterwards. Their prayers will be more meaningful, they will become more sensitized in a good way, and feel ever so much closer to Hashem!

From my experience ever after, I can surely say that I am more than reconciled; I can actually see much benefit in my life, and if this is the way Hashem wanted things, blessed be He now and forever after.

This was the feeling conveyed to us visitors by the mother, who saw her pikodon as a precious gift. His was a short candle, burning only eleven years, but they were full of blessing and joy and nachas. A pure gift. She would not have chosen to be denied that.

One poignant story which the mother told, and which is not mentioned in the following message written by the grandmother, encapsulates the light that glowed so fiercely in this pure, untainted soul.

It was shortly before his passing. Efraim was being taken to a room in the oncology ward after surgery (which, incidentally, did not give hope of extending his life, only of lessening his pain). There were two empty beds in the room.

"Take the one near the window and you'll be able to see trees and flowers," the father suggested.

Efraim took a quick look and opted for the other one near the door.

"No way! Don't you see the `treife machine' there on the shelf above the bed? I know that the Shechina is at the head of a sick person. I wouldn't want to chase the Shechina away just because of that horrible machine."

He wouldn't even mention the name: television. He was too pure for that.

The following was written by his grandmother and somewhat supplemented by your editor.

[We learn all of our acts of chessed from Hashem. And so, too, here, with a new insight on...

Chessed Shel Emess

The Brisker Rov, in discussing the fact that Moshe Rabbenu ran to tell his father-in-law Yisro about the miracles that took place in the Exodus from Egypt, states that apparently, there is a law that when a person experiences a miracle, s/he must tell as many people as possible about it.

The shloshim of our grandson, Efraim Weisfish z'l, fell this week. One might ask what is the connection between the Brisker Rov's statement and this letter?

Too often, people focus on what seems to them the `end' of the story and ignore what came before. As far as our human eyes can see, Efraim's story did not have a `happy end.' But in the process of what happened, we saw many miracles, time and again. Hashem gave us a kiss, hugged us, and said, "I love you. I love you and don't forget it for a minute."

His brain tumor was discovered on a Thursday morning. On Thursday afternoon, Efraim was hospitalized. On Friday morning he was operated on and the surgeon reported that everything had been taken out. Recuperation was estimated to be two weeks. He was home four days later, feeling fine, begging to go back to cheider.

Hashem gave his parents the wisdom to explain to Efraim, his twin brother and the other siblings, what was going on and how to deal with the subsequent therapies. Again, Hashem kindly let these proceed without harsh side effects.

Months later, another growth was discovered... All the while, different organizations and individuals did everything they could to make the process as `pleasant' and easy as possible for the family.

By the time the third growth was discovered, Efraim's chances of survival were drastically reduced; the end would be soon in coming and he had to be hospitalized again. This time, there was pain, and in his worst moments, he knew how to react, thanks to his mother's coaching. "Imagine that it is Yom Kippur, the holiest day. Think of praying to Hashem as hard as you can, of crying out `Shema' with all your might! Ask Him to help you." And that is how she also prepared him to say the Yom Kippur vidui, as well, without actually telling him...

These were his final days, when he only had the energy to signal `yes' or `no' with his finger. But when his grandfather began discussing parshas hashovua with him, he perked up, sat up in bed, answered questions, did gematriyot and recalled divrei Torah he had heard the very week before.

Friends of the family put ads in the papers asking for Tehillim. They were hoping for 500 whole Books. 1200 were recited for his recovery. [These Books are in Hashem's vault; they did not go to waste, but have a far-reaching impact upon the world!] And the morning that the ads were published, Efraim sat up in bed and was able to learn gemora with his father.

His rebbe came to visit and saw that he was able to learn with him. Efraim's doctors gathered into the room to witness the miracle of the boy's sudden burst of vigor. They were amazed as his willpower — and the purity of his beautiful soul. Efraim insisted on taking the test which his class had been given on all the material learned since Elul.

Hashem's kindness shone through in giving the parents just enough time to prepare for the predicted eventuality. The children (bli ayin hora!) were divided up for a week among family and friends so that the parents could remain by Efraim's bedside and give him the maximum support and preparation. And the children, too, were emotionally prepared.

The family witnessed Hashem's thoughtfulness, kindness, enlightenment and love throughout in countless ways. Miracles which are so often overlooked when one just sees the end result.

We can also see miracles of love in our everyday life, if only we are wise enough and patient enough to look for them, look AT them, look in them.

And if you see these miracles, it is your obligation, as it was mine, to tell them to your family and friends.

[Ed. A hope and wish that the sixty days of two Adar months be filled with joy, and as someone said to me — May all the troubles of a whole year, past and future, become nullified boteil b'shishim by them.

And as someone else quipped, may this truly be a Shana MeUderess, a superb leap year of two Adarim!

And a final plea — that we be privileged and graced to see, as did the Weisfish family, Hashem's kindness in everything.]


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