Rabbi Avtzon: Words of Comfort To a Bereaved Mother and Brother



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    Rabbi Avtzon: Words of Comfort To a Bereaved Mother and Brother

    Question: My husband and I have, baruch Hashem, six children, but we recently lost a child on Erev Yom Tov. Since then, I have been immobilized by feelings of guilt…and also the feeling of the lack of closure as there was no proper shiva. In addition, one of my other children has since become anti-social and does not leave the house. Does the Rebbe write anything about my current situation? • Full Article

    Question: I read with keen interest your articles in which you quote letters of the Rebbe in regards to widows and orphans. I am also going through a personal issue: My husband and I have, baruch Hashem, six children, but we recently lost a child on Erev Yom Tov. Since then, I have been immobilized by feelings of guilt (maybe I could have been a better mother to this child) and also the feeling of the lack of closure as there was no proper shiva. In addition, one of my other children has since become anti-social and does not leave the house. Does the Rebbe write anything about my current situation?

    Answer: Firstly, as I answered the previous writer, may you and your entire family — and Klal Yisroel — merit the true comfort and consolation with the revelation of Moshiach now! 

    We will, once again, divide the responses into three categories: (1) The natural feeling of guilt and the depression that comes from it. (2) The feeling of lack of closure because of the Halacha that there is no full shiva in this case. (3) How to deal with your other child.

    What a Mother Can Do For Her Children

    (1) “In response to your letter that you write that you feel unsettled because of inner feelings of guilt that you did not do enough for your child: It is known that the main responsibility — and thus the merit — of the mother is to run the house and educate the children in the ways of Torah. This leads to the obvious conclusion that anything that interferes or brings a weakness to this stated goal, has to be completely nullified.

    Thus, in your situation: The memory of — and feelings for — your lost child should not be hindering your main obligation and mission of running your home. On the contrary: You need to add in the positive environment of the home which obviously demands a feeling of peace and tranquility from the mother. This will bring great elevation to the soul of the child that passed, because it is clear that his memory is the impetus for the improved level of Torah in the home.” (Igros, Vol.14 p.436; #5215).

    “Don’t Be Sad that The Soul Went Directly to Gan Eden”

    (2) “You must remember that Hashem orchestrated that she passed away on Erev Yom Tov, and the true Torah commands us in this case that it is forbidden to mourn more than those few hours before Yom Tov. You should not be sad that the soul of your departed child was able to go directly to Gan Eden and be there already for Yom Tov. (Likkutei Sichos Vol. 35 p. 344).

    “Staying Alone Won’t Help Your Departed Brother”

    (3) “Since the depression of your son is a result of the loss of his younger brother, the following should be explained to him and you can also show him my letter: 

    Being involved with things that will bring a benefit to other Jews, is the only way in which he can bring pleasure to the soul of his brother. Staying alone (and mourning the loss of his brother) will not bring this special elevation to the soul of his brother. We all believe that the soul is eternal, thus it is waiting to be gladdened by those that want his happiness, through the positive deeds that they will do for others.” (Igros, Vol. 15 p. 303; # 5622).

    The Moshiach Connection: 

    The eternity of the soul will be completely revealed in the time of Techiyas Hameisim (the resurrection of the dead). All the souls of the previous generations will return to this world. 

    One may ask: While it is true that most of the souls will return to this world, our sages (Sanhedrin Chapter 11) tell us that there are certain categories of sinners that will not return? 

    There is a lengthy letter (Igros, Vol.1 p. 141; #85), where the Rebbe gives an elaborate and scholarly analysis of all the sources associated with this topic. The Rebbe proves that there are many other ways that a soul of a sinner can achieve atonement and we are allowed to merit the resurrection.

    In another letter, (Igros, Vol. 2 p. 73 footnote 15;  #200), the Rebbe adds:

    I just saw a statement in the Midrash Talpios, anaf Chelek L’Olam HaBo’oh, which quotes Rabbeinu Bachaye and Rikanti, saying: “The statement ‘They do not have a portion in the World to Come’ means that they do not have a distinct portion of their own. They will, however, delight and derive sustenance from several treasure stores of charity hidden away for those who will not merit.” 

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    Rabbi Avtzon: Words of Comfort To a Bereaved Mother and Brother



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