Simcha Amidst Tragedy: Message From Rav Eytan Feiner On Erev Yom Tov Following The Horrific Car Accident

Erev Yom Tov v’Shabbos/ 5th day of the Omer/ April 5 Lichvod the Chashuv Members and Mispallelim of our (White Shul) Klal Yisroel Family: The Vilna Gaon was once asked by his talmidim what he felt was the most difficult mitzvah of all the 613 to fulfill properly. His answer? “Simchas Yom Tov,” the mitzvah to truly rejoice and feel elated throughout the duration of the Chag. Simcha…the joy of Yom Tov…Now?? Hashem Yerachem A’leinu. This Yom Tov of Pesach, Z’man Chei’ru’seinu, began with one of our esteemed member families sadly losing a precious three-month old grandson on Seder night. And many of you just joined me as we sat in silence with broken hearts, wet with tears and surrounded by heart-wrenching sobs, at the tragic Levaya of a young Chosson v’Kallah taken away from us so suddenly…so tragically…There really are no words. So what does HaKB”H want from us as we journey into the last days of what is meant to be one of the happiest times of the year? We rewind to our very first journey as a newly-formed nation, as we commenced the long-awaited trek out of Egypt. The Belzer Rav zt”l pondered how it was possible for the Jewish People to break out in unbridled song, in beautiful Shira- the melodious Az Yashir- when we had just lost four-fifths of our population in the midst of makkas choshech. To sing in such fashion is a manifestation of pure simcha, something we might deem impossible while bereft of so many loved ones. And yet, the heilige Rebbe explained, we never lost our faith in the benevolent HaKB”H Who never stops loving us. We knew wholeheartedly that one day there will surely be a Techiyas HaMeisim, and that hope and sincere belief kept us marching onward. “Az yashir Moshe…”- a song of the future- expressed b’lashon a’sid- from which Chazal infer: from here is a remez to the miracle of one day HaKB”H reviving the dead (Sanhedrin 91b). We sang b’lev vi’nefesh as we experienced Divine revelation like never before. And yet, the celestial angels were enjoined from joining us in our heavenly song. Chazal (Megilla 10b) relate that such is improper when G-d’s handiwork is drowning at sea. If so, we must wonder, why then were we granted the license to break out in song? Rav Eliyahu Meir Bloch, the Telsher Rosh Yeshiva, explained (as did his ancestor, the first Telshe Rav), that a Yid is capable of feeling and expressing more than one emotion simultaneously– something an angel is simply incapable of doing. Yes, indeed, even diametrically opposed human emotions can be experienced at the same time, and it is not an existential contradiction. We are empowered by a loving Hashem with the innate ability to put our emotions into just the right compartments; to store each feeling and emotional response into its own unique box; and ready to be tapped and evoked at the appropriate moments in time. And Rav Bloch certainly knew. At least as much an anyone. For the Rosh Yeshiva was informed of the tragic deaths of his dear wife and all his children in the Holocaust shortly before his first Simchas Torah in the Telshe Yeshiva on American soil. And he danced with the same joy and radiant glow as he … Continue reading Simcha Amidst Tragedy: Message From Rav Eytan Feiner On Erev Yom Tov Following The Horrific Car Accident