It’s only my second post and I’m already writing about death. That friendly little elephant that’s in everybody’s room.
But it’s appropriate here because today is my friend Michele’s 20th yahrtzeit, the anniversary of her passing.
It also would have been her 58th birthday.
It’s no accident that she passed away on her birthday; according to Judaism, such an occurrence is said to be a special merit saved for truly righteous people.
That doesn’t surprise me about Michele.
Only Michele could manage to laugh even when she was complaining, which I remember her doing a lot when we were students together in the 1970’s at the University of Michigan. But she was just groaning about the boatload of science courses she needed to take to become a dental hygienist; in her essence, she was one of the most joyful spirits I have ever known.
Never was she happier than when, several years after college, she met Bruce and they decided to get married.
Will we ever understand why she had to undergo a mastectomy within weeks of her wedding? Why both of her parents survived Auschwitz only to have to bury their daughter?
The answer is, YES.
Yes and more yes.
Yes to a long-awaited understanding of why the righteous suffer, yes to a certainty that G-d exists, that G-d cares and that G-d is good.
Just not quite yes yet.
When I called Michele’s mother today I wanted to tell her that Moshiach–the Messiah– is coming very soon and that everything will be good in the world. I wanted to tell her that when Moshiach comes we will understand everything–including suffering–and that we will even be grateful for it.
But I knew that wouldn’t console her so I didn’t tell her.
But I’m telling you. (And I’m also telling myself because I know I can do better on all fronts…)
Yes, this is very hard to imagine, and yes, this is an authentic Torah concept and yes, the Lubvitcher Rebbe assured anyone who would listen that everyone’s good deeds hasten his arrival.
I apologize if this all sounds weird to you; I’m often guilty of saying too much too soon. I’ll try to discuss the concept only as it applies and I really will try to write about other things.
But October 28th is almost over and so is Michele’s birthday–and yahrtzeit.
Many of us can wait another day for Moshiach, but not Michele’s mother. And, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, she’s not the only one.
Curing death isn’t the only wonderful thing Moshiach will do, but it’s a good place to start.