Soul on a Mission
A Letter of Comfort Written by the Rimnitzer Rebbetzin
To the honorable and esteemed parents of habachur hatzaddik, Shaul zt”l,
Sitting at my computer, in my mind’s eye, I can see the holy, radiant face of your holy son Shaul, zt”l. He was so young in years, yet he appeared to possess an otherworldly wisdom. His essence was so pure. Even in the midst of his illness, he projected a genuine love of life. He had the capacity to uplift all who surrounded him. He inspired others and made them aware of their own potential. In his presence, one yearned to go higher. You might ask: What would make a stranger who barely knew him describe him in such a manner? It is because your son was not ordinary. He left a lasting impression on all who had the merit of meeting him.
Shaul is no longer in his physical form. He is looking down at you all from a window up in heaven, and I can only try and imagine what he is saying to you. If it were possible for you to pierce through the heavy layers of pain and loss, you would hear his voice singing to you a song of eternal love, proclaiming his gratitude, telling a tale that would be a powerful testimony to the exaltedness of your souls and the depth of your sacrifice.
And this is the story I imagine him saying to you:
Suddenly, from a chamber up in heaven, a wondrous, loving voice was heard, one that caused all who heard it to tremble in fear.
“I am looking for a soul who is willing to do a sacrifice of enormous proportions in the times preceding the imminent arrival of Mashiach. A sacrifice that will no doubt hasten the redemption.” Only a deafening silence was heard.
“No volunteers? No one? Not even one?”
And suddenly, a voice of kedusha, of unconditional love and great awe was heard. Next to the throne of glory stood a humble soul who radiated a light so powerful that it illuminated the Heavens.
“Yes, speak my child, speak.”
With the utmost urgency in his voice, he replied, “My beloved Father! May I perhaps be given the privilege of being that sacrifice?”
“My holy and beloved child, do you understand the consequences of your request? Are you sure you can bear it?”
“Father, I volunteer with the utmost joy. Can You perhaps explain to me the nature of this mission?”
“Your mission, my child, is no small request. It is enormous. In the times prior to Moshiach the sufferings of Am Yisrael will seem unbearable. Only those with tremendous faith will have the ability to survive it. My Face will be hidden.”
“Father, how can I help?”
“My child, I will send you down to Earth, where you will struggle and grow and achieve great merit. At the age of 17, you will become ill and suffer greatly. Two years later, I will suddenly bring you back, to an exalted place in the highest of chambers, to dwell in the radiance of My sanctuary. It is a most painful mission, but you will be the catalyst to bring much goodness and light in both the upper and lower worlds.”
“I accept my holy mission with joy.”
“My dear child, you have chosen a task that not many would volunteer for. Just look at the exquisite radiance in My chamber. It is a reflection of your soul. There are sparks of fire emanating from you. The greatness of your soul and its sweetness and pleasantness has the power to magnetically draw other souls toward you. Look, my child at all these souls that have come to attach to your light and holiness.”
There was a great commotion as thousands of souls came to discover the reason for the sudden emergence of iridescent rainbow colored rays. The vision was beyond awesome. Once again, a thunderous voice filled with pain and joy was heard from the Throne of Glory.
“Holy souls, know and be aware that what drew you here is the radiance of this pure soul who has just offered to become a sacrifice for the benefit of my beloved children. Blessed be his portion in both worlds.”
This wondrous soul humbly related to the others the intricacies of his mission. Then, in an urgent whisper, he asked, “Which of you is willing to be my father, my mother, my siblings? Who will be my friends, my neighbors, my chavrusahs, my teachers? Who is ready to attach to me and join me in this mission?”
All were silent. Each could easily visualize how piercing the agony of losing this soul would be.
“None of you agree? Then how can I accomplish my mission?”
In the silence, the soul heard, “I will be your father,” and then, like a harmonious echo, “and I your mother,” “your sister,” “your brother,” one following another. The souls danced and sang together, and their Father in heaven rejoiced with them.
“My children,” He said, “I have a gift for you all. Your sacrifice, I know, will hurt severely. In the other world, it will be impossible to understand my intentions. But, dear children, I will give you my siyata d’shmaya. I will be watching over you with love, and you will see great wonders and miracles. I will send you comfort and give you the strength to bear whatever comes your way. Even if you do not always feel it, please know that I am never far away; I am actually very close. In the end, you will all understand. When my shechina is revealed and the Melech HaMashiach is crowned, you will realize that it is because of your sacrifices that I got up from my seat of judgment and sat upon my throne of mercy.”
With great joy and acceptance, the souls left the chamber to continue dwelling in the pleasures of the Divine and to sing Hashem’s holy praises…And tears fell from the Throne of Glory…
Know this well. Your loss is not a punishment, chas v’shalom. It was destined and engraved within the blueprint of creation. I hurt with you, though my pain must undoubtedly only be but a weak reflection of your own, and yet I believe that we will all rejoice together very soon, because the redemption is imminent.
When I became a kallah to the Rimnitzer Rebbe, the shidduch happened so quickly, like the blink of an eye. As we drank l’chaim, the Rebbe told me, “You see how quickly we became engaged. That is exactly what it will be like at the coming of Mashiach. Galus, galus, galus and in the blink of an eye, Geulah.”
Let us all hold on strongly to these holy words…
With lots of hope and love
L’ilui nishmas Shaul a”h ben R’ Ezriel Jurkanski who was niftar at the age of 19 on 22 Kislev 5768. Just days after meeting Shaul, the Rimnitzer Rebbetzin penned this letter expressing the lasting impressions he had on her.
This article originally appeared in Our Tapestry Issue #7, Summer 2009. All rights reserved.