In this weeks letter, the Rebbe gives words of comfort to the bereaved, and it’s association during the days between Pesach and Shavuos, a time of tragic events in Jewish history, associated with the martyrdom of our people. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel.
By the Grace of G-d
26th of Iyar, 5733
Blessing and Greeting:
I was saddened to learn of the passing of your husband, peace to his soul. Please accept my sincere condolences to you and the bereaved family.
I immediately instructed the office in regard to the arrangement s for the recital of Kaddish , Mishnayos, etc., as you have no doubt been duly informed. May these sacred services in accord with our sacred tradition bring peace and ascent to his soul in everlasting life and may you and yours know of no more sorrow, but only goodness and benevolence be with you and yours always, for long life and in good health.
The current days between Pesach and Shovuos commemorate tragic events in Jewish history, associated with the martyrdom of our people, from the Middle Ages down to the holocaust in our own time. The persecutions and massacres perpetrated by the enemies of our people were fed by hatred towards the Jews as Jews, who steadfastly remained loyal to our Torah and mitzvos and sacred heritage to the point of martyrdom. Your late husband too was a victim of this hatred and he knew the bitterness of exile and suffering, the loss of near and dear ones in the holocaust which, with his sensitivity, made his personal anguish all the greater. Yet, he was blessed with perceptiveness and he knew how to evaluate these events. This is why his personal experience brought him closer to G-d and to his Jewish heritage, which found tangible expression in actual observance of mitzvos in his daily life. That he recognized this too, as Divine Providence and Grace, is also a mark of his stature and genius.
To be sure, those who questioned Divine justice in permitting the holocaust to take place, ipso facto demonstrate faith in G-d and His justice, for if they did not believe deep in their heart that there is a G-d, there would be no point to their questioning. But your husband, peace to him, rose high above that for he was moved to deeper attachment to G-d, Whose Essence and Attributes are beyond human comprehension and Who is the Essence of Goodness. This inspiration stood him in good stead.
I hope that the good he inspired in others by his life and work will be lasting and fruitful, for just as the neshama (soul) is eternal, so are one’s good works and spiritual heritage, left behind in this world.
May G-d grant that you should find an added measure of solace and comfort in these thoughts.