Rabbi Yehuda (Leonard) Blank MS, BCC
Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
=-=-=-=-= Thursday October 6 ,2022, 11 Tishrei 5783=-=-=-=-=
LOSS- HOPE- FUTURE-TEARS-SADNESS-
I would like to share two types of loss and how the tears, the sadness, can turn to happiness based on legacy, hope and faith. Also, a special video from the Tantzers of Moishe’s Bar Mitzva celebration, showing hope, joy and happiness with a special message from the Tantzers about this special simcha.
Yesterday, Yom Kippur was the last day Rabbi Zvi Romm was the Rav of the Bialystoker Synagogue on the Lower East Side. After 20 years of devoted and dedicated service to the congregation and for that matter, the Lower East Side community, as we all knew Rabbi Romm it was to happen, but for any of us still cannot grasp the fact that his tenure is over. Some Rabbonim conclude their tenure as Rav of a shul before the summer months, Rabbi Romm decided to remain through the Yomim Nearim as Rav and as a Baal Tefilah with his sweet, heartfelt tefilos, His Shabbos Shuva drasha was remarkable and well received by all the men and women who attended. All sat riveted to their seats, listening and absorbing every word he spoke. Though we attended and enjoyed on September 17th and 18th the farewell Shabbos kiddush and special brunch held in the Rabbi and Rebbetzins honor, it was a bitter sweet moment. It was difficult even at that time, to accept that they were going to be leaving the synagogue and community. Rabbi Romm was involved in so many life cycles with so much love, devotion, humility and care he gave. So many considered him and his Rebbetzin as part of their families. He was a mentor, a confident, a poseik, a friend, plus so much more. What will be for the future of the synagogue and for the community and all the hundreds and hundreds who depended on his wisdom, his guidance and his advice we do not know. However, what he did leave was his legacy. All the Torah he taught, which by the way over a thousand of his shirurim were recorded and available. All the halachos, the minhagim, the customs, he taught and showed by setting an example to follow. Just how humble he was, how kind, considerate, and sincere he was is another example of his legacy. The way he cared for others was so special, whether it was a hospice patient who was a teenager and how he was there for his parents and family, the responses, the questions he answered and his sensitivity for those in their time of need. His knowledge both in halacha and pastoral care in challenging and difficult situations was remarkable. I personally was involved in certain geirius situations, cancer patients getting married, hospice patients I was dealing with in my role and observing Rabbi Romm in his role as their rabbi. Though he has left with his family, first living in Queens and in due time, will be making with his Rebbetzin and children aliya to Israel. A dream he and his Rebbetzin have had for a long period of time. The synagogue and the community will live on, and because of his legacy, will have what to continue to build from. Rabbi Romm’s accomplishments were not for himself. but in many ways have prepared us for the future.
The same holds true with those whose loved ones have died and for whom Yizkor is said in their memory. For me personally as an example, this past Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur and now the forthcoming Succos and Simchas Torah will be the second year since my wife Keila Lutza bas Shalom Hakohen A”H died. Two years, have passed, Yizkor is said and a candle is lit. As I look back, I could be quite sad, I could shed tears of being without her and a widower. Yet, that is not what my wife wanted of me and the entire family. We were married for 27 years, with a wonderful Brady Bunch plus One family. She left a legacy to continue to build on. She made it very clear especially in her last weeks on this Earth, to take all that we had together, to be happy for all that we did together as a family, as a husband and wife and to go on with life. In the week and a half before she was nifteres she requested I bring out the albums of what we did together and also as a family. She commented how grateful she was to the Ribono shel Olam for everything she did as a mother bringing up her three sons, and later on with my children and how we all grew up together with such love that all the children keep in touch with each other and all the children do the same with me. She insisted I include her quote in my article numerous times for all my readers to have tremendous faith and trust in H. “When things look blue it helps to remember that tomorrow is another day and will be a brighter day.” She wanted all to have hope and faith in the Ribono shel Olam for the days ahead as she did. But what she wanted most of all that her legacy everything that she accomplished in life, set an example for others to build on. She did not want myself nor any of the children to keep on mourning, to bear grief, but to have happy lives and to be successful with love, faith and trust in H. She wanted all of us to have simchas hachaim which she had despite her challenges in life. We all must do our hishtadlis. H helps those who helps themselves. From sadness to happiness. Yes, it is possible to go from the past, the present to the future. Her wishes also included for me to continue to do chasadim for Klal Yisrael and being Mekadeish H utilizing my position at the RAA for that purpose. That was the same message I was given by Rav Dovid Feinstein zt”l some time before he was nifter. They both would have been proud of my new position as Vice President of Professional Development and External Affairs of the RAA. It was her wish that all the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren keep up the mesorah, the legacy of the family. I too pass on her legacy for the same reasons. It is their turn to keep doing all the good things she stood for. She wanted my life to take on a new role bringing good spirits to one and all. She felt there will be a time for me to move on in a positive way and not be stuck in the past. She was truly an amazing person who was totally unselfish and caring for others.
Rather than looking back at all the memories with sadness, I must remember and acknowledge my wife is in Olam Haba and not alone, but with all the holy neshamos. I am surrounded by family and other wonderful people with hopefully many simchas to celebrate. Of course we always include our beliefs, our love, our faith and our trust in H. We always must attribute any of ones success, accomplishments and achievement to the Ribono shel Olam. Without Him nothing is possible. We must always have hope and strive for the future. All the children and grandchildren look to her legacy for strength and meaning in their lives with a positive outlook for the future.
Until the Bialystoker Synagogue will have a new Rav, the legacy of Rabbi Romm as well as the previous Rabbonim , Rabbis Yitzchik Leib Epstein, Avraham Gelernter, Jacob Eskolsky, Shimon Eskolsky, Binyamin Bomrind and Yitzchok Singer zt”l, the shul will remain strong . Together with the President, members of the Board, members and congregants the shul will remain vibrant and one of the main features of the Lower East Side.
Rabbis, Rebbetzins and Chaplains can help transform the memories of loved ones who they are saying Yizkor for, to meaningful legacies. Finding attributes to be fond of and happiness for the present and hopefully for the future.
We don’t say Al Cheit during Neilah because we hope that all of our Tefillos were answered and we are now looking forward to Succos which is called Zman Simchaseinu( The time of our happiness). Rav Dovid Feinstein zt”l in his sefer Kol Dodi states that the posuk says Vesameachta bechagecha vehayeesa ach sameiach, If you are happy on Succos, you will be happy all year long. Therefore, rather than looking back with sadness, we must look ahead with hope and happiness for the future.
I recently shared with my readers the tremendous simcha of my grandson, Moishe Blank and how his parents, my son and daughter( in law) have the same feeling as what Rav Dovid mentioned how important it is to be happy now and will therefore be happy all year long. Their love, faith and trust in the Ribono shel Olam is phenomenal. The Tantzers who helped make their dream come true having a Bar Mitzva celebration that was beyond WOW ! This was following a beautiful Shabbos Bar Mitzva and kiddush. I shared with you in my previous article several videos. That Tantzers created a video you will see, has many segments of the Bar Mitzva celebration you will want to see it over and over again. Rather than looking at their son as a loss of normal experiences, they look at life and give life with as much normalcy as possible.
A MESSAGE FROM THE TANTZERS
While we are widely known for joining Simchas, lifting spirits, and infusing joy into the lives of many, there is another side to The Tantzers you might not know about. This year, we at Tantzers arranged, planned, and coordinated a magical Bar Mitzvah for Moishe, a boy who deserves all the joy in the world. No one ever thought that he would have a “regular” Bar Mitzvah celebration. But Sholi Rosenblum knew he would. Years ago, he promised Moishe and his family, that he will make sure a mega Bar Mitzvah will take place. And he kept his word. Moishe was born with a rare lifelong disease, causing him to be wheelchair-bound, and ventilated. But that shouldn’t get in the way of an electrifying Bar Mitzvah. The space was elaborately decorated, and packed with energized volunteers who came to sing and dance and rejoice in this Simcha. Our coordinators arranged for music stars Beri Weber and Yossi Lebowitz to attend. While Moishe can’t communicate verbally, he expressed his excitement and elation with his charming smile. His sparkling eyes clearly displayed the emotions he was feeling, as he was surrounded by people exuding so much love. We know this day will be eternally remembered by Moishe, his family, and anyone who took part. Tantzers: https://thetantzers.org/ Follow us on Instagram: https://instagram.com/tantzers?igshid…
PLEASE CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING TEXT TO VIEW THE
SPECIAL VIDEO OF MOISHE’S BAR MITZVA
PRESENTED BY THE TANTZERS
As we recite in the Shemoneh Esrei of the Neilah Service “In the Book of Life, blessing, and peace, and livelihood that is good, may we be remembered and may we be sealed before You we- and Your entire people the family of Israel-for a life that is good and for peace. May all of our tefilos be answered and fulfilled. May this year be filled with maysim tovim, good -health, happiness, parnasa and many simchos.
“Give thanks to H for He Is good, for enduring forever is His Kindness.”
Sincerely, Rabbi Yehuda Blank
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