by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
In “Oh G-d it Hurts” I noted ‘We do not live in the not-so-distant past where 1 in 3 children would NOT make it to 10 years old. We do not lose 1 out of every 20 wives and mothers to death by childbirth, nor 1 out of every 20 adults to flu and pneumonia.’ Thank G-d. How are we to understand such life?
I received the following story this week…
Reb Yitzchak Chaim Dovber HaLevi Vilenski as a great maskil and oved and was a chossid of the Rebbe Maharash and the Rebbe Rashab (the 4th and 5th Rebbe’s of Chabad Lubavitch). He lived in Kremenchug where he was known as one of the "Kremenchuger Beralach" (A number of great chassidim in Kremenchug were named Dov or Berel; Reb Berel Moshe's, Reb Dov Masaiov, and others. The Frierdiker Rebbe records them all as having powerful minds, great hearts, which would daven long with exuberance of the heart and a sweet voice, and would all publicly recite Chassidus.)
Though he lost two wives and a son, he was always a source of inspiration and joy.
In another story, a personal family one from my wife’s family…
My unerra-bubbe (my great grandmother) had 10 children. One of the children died (from smallpox). She and her family came from a shtetl in Poland, moving to the New World for opportunity and to avoid starvation and privation (attacks of the gentiles against the Jews). The family moved out of New York City to an upstate New York town, becoming successful merchants.
One she lost one child to disease, but for eight of the remaining children, as they grew and entered the working world they assimilated – leaving observant Judaism. Her loses were… huge.
Are we blessed that in this time, in this generation, we rarely lose the lives wives or husbands, or sons or daughters? Rather, we have children leaving and marriages breaking? Is that better?
…for those involved – it makes no difference, it’s their pain, the pain they know. And it’s terrible.