ב"ה, אור ליום הבהיר יו"ד כסלו, חג הגאולה
לכבוד משפחת דייטש שיחיו
לכבוד משפחת דייטש שיחיו
Just a few short months ago I wrote a letter expressing my sorrow on the loss of my dear friend Nosson. I finished with the words “Nosson’s smiling presence will forever remain with me, as a void that can never be filled.” But little did I imagine that the void would grow wider, that the wound, still fresh, would be so painfully torn open.
Of course we knew that Levi was ill, and we knew too that Levi’s illness was one of the very few things that could ever worry Nosson. But Nosson’s confidence and unwavering enthusiasm convinced us that no brother of his would ever be overcome by any onslaught, however intense. To those who knew Nosson, no form of tragedy could seriously be associated with him or his family, it was simply too incongruous. Nosson and his family had been through enough already, sorrow was something that they deserved to place firmly behind them and never revisit.
Then – on a sunny day of joyous celebration – tragedy struck.
When Nosson was so tragically torn from us, we were united in a grief that will never entirely heal. First there was only shock, but with the passing days the shock turned to dismay and then to bleak sorrow. Never again would our lives be brightened by Nosson’s enthusiastic presence. The very impersonation of life itself had died. And there was pain, pain for the unimaginable shock, the terrible dismay and the infinite loss that Nosson’s mother, and indeed all the family, must suffer.
That shared tragedy, created a common bond between all of us – Nosson’s friends, and you – his family, who grieve for him the most.
In the following months, the threat of Levi’s worsening illness loomed heavy on our consciousness. I never met Levi, and the same applies to many of my friends, yet his situation was constantly on the agenda. At every opportunity, at every Farbrengen, a Le’chaim was said that Levi Yitzchak ben Cyrel should have a Refuah Shleimoh. And we believed that Levi would have a Refuah Shleimah. We knew that Nosson’s brother must love life as he did, and that Levi would fight and never surrender. And Levi did fight – till the bitter end.
And the end was bitter.
This is not just the tragedy of a young life lost, but the tragedy of a family. A mother who has already suffered far too much. A young widow – who valiantly lived to preserve a hope, and fought to create a certainty – her life cut in half, her hope conclusively crushed. Her young children bewildered. Orphaned. Will they even remember the exuberant father of their earliest youth? Each of Levi’s siblings has lost yet another irreplaceable piece of their own lives.
I do not think I am alone when I say that my heart is torn for you, for Levi’s mother, his wife, his children and all the family. The hundreds of Bochurim who loved Nosson so, in some small measure, sense the pain of his family and share it. I cannot offer words of comfort, I do not know how. But I want you to know that I wish I could, and I want you to know that because of Nosson you are less alone.
המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים
Eli Leib Rubin