Chaplaincy Commision Update

Rabbi Leonard (Yehuda) Blank, MS, BCC
Director of Chaplaincy and External Affairs
Rabbinical Alliance of America/Igud HaRabbonim
February 18th, 21 *

Being a Rav and a supportive Rebbetzin is never an easy position. It might see glamorous to some, but with awesome responsibilities. The care and understanding, the patience could be taxing for the average person, especially as we enter the next two Yom Tovim Purim and Pesach. Due to COVID or Corona as many call the virus, has once again brought us to uncertain times with many shailos and difference of halachic opinions. There have been major announcements in the Jewish media about reduced gatherings, Purim celebrations, giving, receiving meshalach manos and restrictions on visitations by youth groups or for that matter any groups for charitable collecting and about avoiding giving and drinking (special article about drinking in last weeks RAA newsletter). Though the mitzva is just with at least two different edible items, many like to give more and often elaborate gifts. There are many who will not accept anything that comes from a home where there are individuals during quarantine or actually have the Corona. And there are many who will not be giving shalach manos or be fearful of attending the reading of the Megilah in the synagogue, but each rabbi will find solutions when possible not to miss such and important mitzva. Then there are as I have mentioned in previous articles those who are isolated, are alone, feel lonely, and with many, sad not being able to be with the world. I have been asked how will I be celebrating Purim this year? Well, it is the first Purim without my wife, and due to COVID I am not socializing in the sense of being with others, visiting, not just as a co-davener in shul, or being amongst people in the supermarket. I will give neighbors in my building a simple shalach manos. I will have something special for my Purim meal in the early afternoon, as it will be erev Shabbos. If possible, will do zoom with different families where the grandchildren can show me their costumes. How can I not forget the memories of joyous days with my wife, preparing shalach manos packages she made so beautiful for our relatives. I just helped with the gift wrapping. Through the years, at the Bialystoker snf, had beautiful and exciting programs and activities for community residents too and my wife used to join me with her own costumes, both of us really getting into the Purim mood making everyone happy. She also made a special Purim breakfast for all our children and grandchildren, they too with their beautiful costumes. Every year, I had a professional looking get up, nothing silly or funny, really Broadway looking, and my wife joined me. Am I reminiscing again, maybe, but there are so many joyous and meaningful things we did together, like teammates There are so many things to share with each holiday and special events? I could go on and on. So, what is the use of memories, when as she wanted me to go on with life. Well, we look back and just as she wanted to look at the many albums of what we did together and with our family and others, just a few weeks before she was nifteres, but that made her so happy. Reminiscing all that she accomplished on Hawolom Hazeh bringing up three wonderful boys, opening her heart to my children and just so loving and caring for each other and family. So, my dear readers, for yourselves, your family make every moment filled with love of the Aibershta, for each other and all those who love and care for you too. There is much to impart and share with those who you give counsel to, those who you bring meaning of life. Every experience preparing for each chag is precious and being there for those who do not have family, not married, for various reasons have not been with family, caring with sincerity, with your hearts will always bring something special to the lives of others, yourselves, your spouses, you children, grandchildren, other relatives, mispallim and those who seek your advice, your help, and your guidance. What is important is always remembering and thinking of the Ribono Shel Olom with emunah and betachim. For those who are lonely, or feel lonely, for what ever reason they are, don’t just keep them in your prayers, find opportunities of bringing life into their lives. [...Click headline above for more...]