Monday, March 11, 2013

A Moving Post for a Moving Day

Scene from yesterday's event - photo credit Neil Harris
I was profoundly moved this morning by a blog post on Modern Uberdox written by the blog host, Neil Harris. It describes events which took place yesterday here in Chicago – or more accurately Skokie. That is where Arie Crown Hebrew Day School is located.

As noted in Friday’s post, yesterday was the day that a Sefer Torah dedicated to the memory of my grandson Reuven was donated to the school in a glorious Hachnasas Sefer Torah procession. As I said in Friday’s post, I saw this moment in time as a celebration of Reuven’s life. He truly affected many people’s lives in significant ways that many of us who live longer lives never do.

Many people who saw me yesterday saw me smile a lot. I did. Because the entire time I was dancing I saw Demus Deyukno – the image Reuven’s smiling face. He was there with me yesterday. I saw him smiling in his wheelchair with his smiling father happily holding that wheelchair and dancing with him. The image was clear. And as I viewed his face smiling, I could not help but smile myself.

Yes… yesterday was a happy day for me. It celebrated a full albeit short life. God puts all of us on this earth for a reason. It would be presumptuous of me to guess what the purpose of any life is here on this earth. But when someone lives such a short life and I see the profound impact it had on so many lives, I have to believe that his Tachlis (purpose) on this earth was fulfilled.

Just to cite one example.  A young man who fell through the cracks of his religious upbringing and was pretty far down the OTD track was hired as Reuven’s first shadow (aide) so that he could attend school. That young man became so inspired by the way Reuven lived under less then desirable life conditions (to say the least)… and the way he saw how his parents and so many others in the religious community responded to Reuven that it led him to completely return to his Yiddishkeit.

He ended up going to Israel to learn and has been there for nearly two years. On the Yahrzeit, he and a friend visited Reuven’s gravesite. Someone was there with an I-phone, took a video of it, and sent it on the spot to my daughter so she could see it virtually as it was happening. She now has a permanent recording of it.

This young man’s parents could not believe the transition their son has had as a result of his encounter with Reuven.  And this is only one example of a life that was profoundly changed because Reuven was here.

I want to thank Neil Harris for his heartfelt post.  Neil Harris is who he is because his character is deeply ingrained in his soul. I wish Neil and his family health, happiness, and much success in life - both material and spiritual. He and his wife should see only Nachas from their children. I have no doubt that they do now and will continue to see it in the future.