Last Friday, we went to my brother's kever to daven and say tehillim. When I went to the cemetery, so many thoughts that came to my mind. One of the things I thought about this time (and probably every time I went to his kever) is that after a person dies, all that matters is who they are, who they became and what they did with the time they had in this world. Nothing else matters!! Not money, not looks, not brains, not personality, not the job they had...unless they used the gifts Hashem gave them to help others! When I looked at my brother's matzeiva, I read the beautiful things that it says about him and I reminded myself that these are the things that really matters in life. It is important for each of us to remind ourselves that the only things that go with a person after they die is the good things they did!!
This past shabbos, my family got together for my brother's yartzeit. We ate the shabbos meals together and spoke about the many different memories we have of my brother. We laughed about the cute things he did and thought about the special things he did.
Here are some more stories...
Once, my cousin, who was in Bais Yaakov seminary at the time, was walking down the street and it started to rain. She did not have an umbrella on her and continued walking when suddenly, she realized that she was not getting wet anymore, even though it was still raining outside. She looked up and she saw my brother, Shalom, holding an umbrella above her head without saying a word. You see, this was his girl cousin and he was chassidish so he wouldn't have a whole conversation with her in middle of the street! But he knew from his many sisters what it means to a girl when it's raining outside and their hair gets wet and frizzy!! So in his own quiet way, he did what he knew he should do - and continued to walk my cousin all the way to her destination - without saying one word!
We remembered the time when my sister, Baila, was babysitting and forgot her CPR book and really needed it to do some studying for the next day. No problem! Shalom biked over with it in no time! But not only that, he knew that Baila likes those Smackin' Good potato knishes. So he warmed one up in the microwave and brought it over to her along with her CPR book.
When he was younger, he used to bike over to my married sister's house on erev shabbos and bring over homemade challah, kugel, fish and all the other goodies my mother set up...My older sister commented that he was always dressed and ready for shabbos when he came to drop off the food. That means that he never had to rush into shabbos...let's try to follow in his ways!!
It's really not possible to put all 15+ years of my brother's life down on paper. I just gave you a little glimpse of the greatness of this quiet, unassuming boy. And there are some things he did that we will never know about. That's just the way he was. He did whatever he could in the quietest way possible. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself. He didn’t want people to praise him for all the good he did. But I am sure that in the next world, the world of truth, my brother is getting all the praises showered upon him. He is getting unlimited reward for the everlasting impact he left on his family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances.
And remember, my brother cannot do ONE mitzvah now! We are the only ones who can do mitzvos for him and that way his neshama can soar higher and higher. If you take one thing upon yourself, even for one day, l'ilui nishmas my brother, it will give me and my family tremendous nechama.
Please feel free to pass this message on to anyone who will gain and be inspired from all the incredible, yet small things my brother did. He truly used every minute to the fullest by filling each moment with mitzvos which are eternal! He knew and understood that the only thing that goes with a person after leaving this world is Torah and mitzvos.
Now he is smiling and he is happy to be able to get schar for all the mitzvos he did in this world! He is so close to Hakadosh Baruch Hu and is next to the shechina in the olam ha'emes! He is the lucky one!
But I wouldn’t call any of us unlucky because we still have a chance to grab each moment and use it to the fullest and do mitzvos to build a beautiful olam haba for ourselves! Fortunate is the one who takes advantage of their time in this world and uses their time to connect to Hashem and get closer to Him!
One last thought…this is what I was thinking when I went to the kosel for the first time, about 2 ½ weeks after my brother was niftar. (Yeah, I went to seminary while I was still in the shloshim…life is NOT meant to be easy!!)
I was standing at the site of the Bais Hamikdosh and crying and bawling my eyes out and I thought to myself,
If this is how much I miss my brother and it's been only two weeks, could you imagine how much Hashem misses us?! It's been soo many years, so many generations, and yet we still didn’t come back! Of course, Hashem has no concept of time and He is l'malah min hazman, but in our terms, the way we could understand it, so many years have passed already! Isn't it time to come back to Hashem?! I miss my brother like CRAZY and it is such a short amount of time so could you imagine how much Hashem misses us and wants us back?!
I learned from this that a person doesn’t know how much time he has left to live. Therefore, we must use every minute we have to improve and become better. It also showed me how much we should appreciate our family and people who are close to us because no one ever knows when their last moment will be.
My bracha to each of you is that you should be zoche to live your life to its fullest and come closer to Hashem in a new and deeper way every day of your life. May we all be zoche to come back to Hashem and meet in Yerushalyim with the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdosh, AMEN!