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My Shiva in Isolation

Friday, 8 May, 2020 - 2:33 pm

My Shiva in Isolation

My last week was a 24/6 marathon of non-stop calls, ‘Zooms’, emails and messages, as I sat Shiva, in isolation, for my dear father, of blessed memory. I am still deeply overwhelmed by the enormous outpouring of love and support from near and far, as I have come to learn how each message of comfort truly makes a difference.

With the new-world-order of Corona, in-person Shiva visits were replaced by very meaningful Zoom Shiva ‘meetings’. Hours upon hours of daily Zoom sessions with friends, family and community members logging in for virtual Shiva ‘visits’.

Now that Shiva has ended, I am facing the reality that I will never be able to hug my father, discuss Torah insights with him, or speak to him ever again. I think it’s the finality of his passing that is most difficult to accept. Me and Ta Gala.JPG

Over the past two weeks my family and I have heard from hundreds of people of all backgrounds, ages and stages, who were positively impacted by my father. Rabbis, colleagues, and young students alike shared their unique anecdotes and memories of ‘Rabbi Z.’. Most compelling, were the common themes that were repeated over and over again: “He lifted people up.” “He genuinely cared.” “He was there for me in my time of need.” “He was nonjudgmental and helped me through a challenging time.”

How fortunate I am to have been raised by such an unassuming and humble ‘quiet giant’. Each testimony is so valuable and I will do what I can to incorporate my father’s lessons into my own life. Hopefully, this will help me move forward.

One of the most critical tools for a happy life is knowing how to deal with challenges. My father sure had his share of challenges, yet he was blessed with the tools and wisdom to endure them with grace. His staunch faith in G-d, determination and love, helped him embrace each day as an integral part of his life’s unique mission. He was the greatest role model and living example to all of us. All we had to do was watch. He never preached, he just lived.

I have been thinking about how timely my father’s lessons are, considering the current challenges we are all now facing, personally and communally. Here is how my father would deal with the Covid-19 reality: He would never lose his cool. He would move forward, one day at a time. He would keep his faith strong and his attitude positive. He would never allow his inner conviction to slide. I truly hope I can emulate his ways.

The Rebbe taught us, that following the loss of a loved one, our focus should turn to the teaching of Ecclesiastes: “The living shall take to heart”. I know that I will miss my father dearly, but by devoting my life to living by his example, I hope to find a measure of comfort.

Shabbat Shalom and have a great week ahead!

Rabbi Yossi Zaklikofsky

 

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